In letter to PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee calls for all-party meeting on public funding of elections

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Updated: Jul 25, 2019 10:30 PM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to call an all-party meeting on public funding of elections.

Banerjee’s letter came in the backdrop of a recent report by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) titled ‘Poll Expenditure – The 2019 Elections’.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to call an all-party meeting on public funding of elections. She said that it is apprehended that the poll expenditure for the next elections in 2024 could cross Rs 1 lakh crore.

Banerjee’s letter came in the backdrop of a recent report by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) titled ‘Poll Expenditure – The 2019 Elections’. The report said that the Lok Sabha elections 2019 were the “most expensive election ever, anywhere” and “twice as expensive” as the 2014 General elections.

Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress had flagged the issue in its manifesto of 2014 and 2019 elections.

“I would like to draw your attention to a burning issue of national importance which we had flagged in our Manifesto in 2014 and 2019. The issue is broadly of electoral reforms and specifically to prevent corruption and criminality in our democratic polity,” her letter read.

As per the CMS report, Mamata in her letter, said that the poll expenditure of the 2019 elections crossed all limits, reaching a minimum of Rs 60,000 crore. She added that the maximum expenditure remains unknown and could be “much higher.”

“The time has come for Government funding of elections which is the norm today in 65 countries in the world,” it added.

She also drawn contrast with the expenditure incurred in US elections. “May I point out that the combined expenditure in the USA for presidential and Congressional Elections in 2016 was $6.5 billion. In other words, in a developing country, like ours, the elections in 2019 became the world’s most expensive election. Going by the current spending figures, it is apprehended that in the next 2024 general elections the poll expenditure could cross Rs one lakh crore,” the letter said further.

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