Former PM Manmohan Singh wants discussion on state funding in elections — Here’s why

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Updated: July 22, 2019 12:13:47 AM

In the last few years, donations to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have increased manifold. Earlier this year, it was reported that the BJP received over 13 times the donations — above Rs Rs 20,000 — as compared to the next six national parties put together during 2017-18.

Manmohan Singh was speaking at Birth Centenary Memorial Meeting for CPI leader and former Union Minister Indrajit Gupta. (PTI)

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said that the time has come to discuss the role of state funding in elections. He was speaking at Birth Centenary Memorial Meeting for CPI leader and former Union Minister Indrajit Gupta. Singh said that Gupta had argued for the role of state funding in polls.

“Indrajit ji knew that without an Opposition democracy has no soul. One of the widely cited scholarly works of his was a report on election funding. He argued for the role of state funding in elections. Today when only one party has access to 90% of election fund such ideas need to be discussed and deliberated,” ANI quoted the former prime minister as saying.

In the last few years, donations to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have increased manifold. Earlier this year, it was reported that the BJP received over 13 times the donations — above Rs Rs 20,000 — as compared to the next six national parties put together during 2017-18. During this period, the total donation to major political parties was Rs 469.89 crore. However, the saffron party alone got Rs 437.04 crore. The remaining six political parties — Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI, CPI-M and Trinamool Congress — received just Rs 32.83 crore.

The ADR also prepared a report on corporate donations and found that the ruling BJP alone got Rs 915.5 crore of total Rs 985.1 crore funding to political parties. The Congress received just Rs 55.3 crore. The BJP is also the biggest beneficiary of newly-introduced electoral bonds. According to reports, the saffron party received Rs 210 crore of Rs 215 crore generated through electoral bonds in 2017-18. The rest five crores went to the grand old party.

This week, BSP President Mayawati asked the BJP to disclose the source of funds received during the recently concluded elections. She said everybody knew that the saffron party got Rs 2,000 crore in its bank accounts during the elections. “But it is not clear who gave the money and everyone wants to know its source,” she added.

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