Funding of political parties : PM and the BJP first should be transparent

Funding of political parties more transparent : The PM and the BJP will do well to first be transparent on their own funding.  BJP and allies are indulging in massive display of money power ...

Funding of political parties : PM and the BJP first should be transparent

 

BJP and allies are indulging in massive display of money power in all their election rallies. So, CPI(M) has demanded that the PM and the BJP will do well to first be transparent on their own funding.

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met on February 19, 2017 at New Delhi. It has issued the following statement:

In this election campaign to the state assemblies, Prime Minister Modi and the BJP leaders have been focusing on the need to make the funding of political parties more transparent.  The PM and the BJP will do well to first be transparent on their own funding.  BJP and allies are indulging in massive display of money power in all their election rallies.

The measures announced in the Union Budget for the so-called cleansing of the system of political funding by the Finance Minister constitute a mere eyewash.  The reduction of cash donations from the existing   Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 2,000; and donations above this amount be made through a digital transaction and the purchase of electoral bonds by donors to be redeemable by the political parties with whom these are deposited do not, in any way, constitute any effective measures.

The CPI(M) has long been suggesting that if the growing excessive  use of money power distorting the democratic  choices to be made by the people in the electoral process is to be checked, then the first step should be to ban corporate funding to political parties.  Secondly, a ceiling must be imposed on the expenditures incurred by a political party during elections. Currently, there is a ceiling on the expenditures incurred by the candidates, but no ceiling or control  over the expenditures incurred by the political parties.  During the last nearly three years of this BJP government, it has outrightly refused to consider these suggestions.   On the issue of electoral reforms, the CPI(M) has been making important suggestions for a long time now.

The CPI(M) had suggested that the electoral system should be changed to adopt a partial proportional representation whereby the true reflection of the people's democratic choice can be found in government formation. Almost all central governments since independence have formed governments with less than 50 per cent of the popular vote polled in general elections. The current BJP led Modi government has a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha with a mere 31 per cent of the polled vote share; 69 per cent of the people who have voted have voted against the BJP, save except those parties which have subsequently joined the NDA. Democracy as a rule of the majority has not really been implemented in the country. We had earlier proposed that two constituencies can be clubbed into one where one of the individual candidate will contest and in the other people will choose a political party on the basis of its political manifesto, policies and programmes. This will be a better reflection of the democratic choice of the people.  Proportional representation also has the advantage of curbing to some extent factors like money power, caste considerations etc as people would be voting for the programmes and policies of the political parties.

 Following discussions with other political parties and social organizations and movements, the CPI(M), along with the CPI, proposes to hold a national convention on thoroughgoing electoral reforms shortly.  The CPI(M) shall approach other political parties who are willing to take up these substantive issues to be bring into effect the much needed reforms in our electoral process.

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