2 Nov :With security during the upcoming Assembly polls to six states becoming a major worry, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami on Sunday said muscle and money power were becoming a hindrance for free and fair electoral process.
Referring to the huge number of security forces being deployed in poll-bound states ahead of voting, Gopalaswami said that India, being a large and an old democracy, should be in a position to hold elections in a peaceful manner without the need for any security arrangements.
"Today muscle and money power are a big concern for free and fair elections. To deal with the muscle, we have to deploy more police and security forces, so that voters can use their (right to) franchise in peaceful manner," the CEC said, while speaking at a function organised by International Goodwill Society of India in New Delhi.
Recalling Uttar Pradesh assembly polls last year, Gopalaswami said the election commission had to mobilise a whopping 4.55 lakh security personnel to ensure peaceful and fair polls.
The CEC, however, noted that compulsion of holding elections under excessive security arrangements was not a good sign for a democratic country like India.
"Conducting an election at gun point does not really give credit to our democracy, but it has happened," he said, adding that things were improving gradually.
He, meanwhile, said that the elaborate force deployment has also helped in controlling the election-related crimes and infused a sense of security among the voters.