Former CEC calls for ban on corporate donations to political parties

Hyderabad: “Public funding of the elections… that’s the only way; corporates should not be involved in giving donations to political parties,” said Former chief election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy yesterday.

According to a report, in the recent Lok Sabha elections, Rs 60,000 crore were spent. Speaking about this to a news agency, Krishnamurthy said expenses during the elections might be increasing because of the growing number of candidates and political parties.

Krishnamurthy oversaw the 2004 general elections and said there was an urgent need for electoral reforms in the country. He raised concern in the non-transparent way of funding through corporate donations.

T S Krishnamurthy

He had earlier pointed out that when Companies donate to political parties it promotes nexus. But people can donate for a national election fund and in turn avail 100 per cent tax exemptions. “That fund will be spent by the Election Commission on the basis of guidelines to be drawn in consultation with all political parties,” he said.

He also said that in 2004 he had given about 20 suggestions to the government, while the Law Commission and several other bodies had also given advice on electoral reforms addressing deficiencies in the system.

No political parties had seriously addressed the issue of electoral reforms, said Krishnamurthy. He added that politicians were individually not happy with the electoral system, but collectively seemed to be happy with the status-quo. According to him, electronic voting machines (EVMs) are credible without Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT).

NT Bureau