‘EC should not allow defaulters to contest polls’

Chennai: Terming the political parties’ assurance in their manifestos to waive off education loans as undesirable, an apex banking body has urged the Election Commission to get an undertaking from poll candidates that they are not bank loan defaulters.

A top official of the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) asked the poll panel to notify that bank loan defaulters are ineligible to contest the ensuing elections.

The AIBEA also said that loan defaulters should be made ineligible to hold any public office.

The union plans to file a public interest litigation (PIL) to declare that job reservation rules will become applicable for all public sector promoted companies.

“Any loan waiver is not desirable as it will give a wrong signal to the borrowers,” C.H. Venkatachalam, AIBEA General Secretary, told IANS on Monday.

“But when the economy is not doing well and corporate loans are restructured, the education loans should also be restructured if a borrower is not able to get a job,” he added.

“What is sauce for goose is also sauce for gander. When corporate loans can be restructured, the same can be done for student borrowers,” he said.

Political parties like AIADMK and DMK have promised to waive off education loans if they come to power.

Venkatachalam said the bulk of the bad loans amounting to about Rs 895,600 crore as on March 31, 2018, are attributable to big business and the affluent and in many cases it is wilful default.

He said the union has been demanding publication of the names of bank loan defaulters and criminal action against them, but to no avail.

“We have the bitter experience in the past where bank loan defaulters have been able to contest elections, become parliamentarians and legislators and have even become Ministers.

“We have been demanding, in public interest, that bank loan defaulters should not be permitted to contest elections or hold any public office,” Venkatachalam wrote to the EC.

He said the EC should issue a notification and suitable guidelines that when the nomination papers are filed by the candidates, a declaration should be obtained that he/she and the companies in which they are having a stake and connections are not bank loan defaulters.

Venkatachalam also urged the EC to notify that bank loan defaulters are ineligible to contest the ensuing elections.