Clean up political funding
There is no denying the fact that India’s political parties lack transparency, and are usually given a free-hand when it comes to being accountable with different provisions of the tax law. The so-called ‘anonymous sources’ of donation to party accounts is actually a state-sponsored machine of converting black-money into white. Big accountants and tax-experts are on their pay-rolls to prepare their account books. The private lobby of builders, traders, businessman, etc, fund political campaigns of their chosen candidates by investing their ill-gotten money as different donations of small amounts, and in return, get political favours in their local area. What our secretaries and ministers are doing is entangling the common people in the web of legal jargon. While the revenue secretary says political parties are exempted, his minister says that their account books are open to scrutiny. Then came the PM’s rhetorical promise to discuss the toothless propositions of the EC. It seems as if an attempt is being made to somehow brush it under the carpet. On the one hand the government doesn’t think twice when enforcing demonetisation on common people, but on the other they are only making a ‘promise’ of discussing the issue of election funding. This is a clear double standard. We don’t need only a discussion, we need the same so-called ‘surgical strike’ on the black-money involved in election funding. If the PM is so in love with cashless transactions, why doesn’t he makes it mandatory that every donation to a political party must be done digitally. In that case, the amount can be easily tracked to its legitimate owner. The result would be a complete hundred percent transparency in political funding. The entry into our temples of democracy must not be laden with corruption and black-money.
Gaurav Singhal, Rewari
Opposition’s unmerited demand
The demand for prime minister Narendra Modi’s resignation by the Opposition parties over demonetisation issue is, to say the least, ridiculous. The chorus for resignation of Modi by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee in collusion with the RJD, DMK, JD(S), JMM, IUML and AIUDF, on personal corruption charges has no takers since the charges leveled by Rahul Gandhi have fallen flat in the Supreme Court. It is natural if Gandhi ignores the corruption that was rampant during the UPA regime. What stopped Mamata from speaking against corruption like the IPO scandal (R61 crore) in 2006, the Ali Khan misappropriation scandal (R50,000 crore) in 2008, the Satyam scam (R24,000 crore), the Madhu Koda (R4,000 crore), the 2G spectrum scam (R1,76,000 crore), rice export scam (R2,500 crore) and the Orissa mining scam (R7,000 crore)—all five in 2009—the Commonwealth Games (R40,000 crore) in 2010, and the coal scam (R1,85,591 crore) in 2012? All this shows that the criticisms against the Modi government are malicious propaganda to tarnish the image of the government in spite of the good governance it is delivering. The critics must understand that baseless charges would only backfire at them. Congress has already had the bitter experience of losing the 2014 election after the Congress president Sonia Gandhi termed Modi the ‘merchant of death’. Issue-based and value-based criticisms are always welcome. But mud-slinging will not further the prospects of Congress and its allies.
KV Seetharamaiah Hassan