The Election Commission has been able to 'substantially' check criminal elements entering the poll process but has failed to control illegal flow of money, Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said on Thursday.
The Commission has been able to control substantially criminal elements through various measures being implemented from time to time, he said, as the first phase of polling for 124 Lok Sabha seats spread across 17 states and UTs began.
'We believe that we have failed in doing that (curbing illegal flow of money for wooing voters). Money power is something which we have not been able to control,' Quraishi told television channel CNN-IBN.
'Money is changing hands because it happens between givers and receivers. Only when we observe something happening through media or through complaints, we come down heavily. I do not think we have been adequately successful on this front,' he added.
Quraishi said the EC has identified 23,000 vulnerable villages and hamlets where special arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair polls.
Besides, the EC has rescheduled the polling timing in the Naxal-infested areas.
"The law requires that you should have eight hours of polling. Within the limits of law, we have rescheduled the poll timing so that evacuation of polling party can take place before it is dark. Our experience is that they are attacked while returning,' he said.
Regarding voters boycotting polls in certain areas, Quraishi said the EC has taken sufficient security measures to check the influence of "some forces" who prevent electors from exercising their franchise.
"But if the boycott is voluntary and people are protesting against the government, then it is fine," he said.
As a number of leaders have been issued notices for their "hate speeches", the Commissioner said the EC has the mandate to conduct free and fair polls and it would do everything possible to give the people good election in the country.