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Former CEC calls for national election fund, ban on corporate donations

Former chief election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy Tuesday pushed for public funding of by way of donations to a and favoured ban on to political parties as part of electoral reforms.

Krishnamurthy, who oversaw the 2004 general elections, declined to comment on a report of a think-tank that about Rs 60,000 crore were spent in the recent Lok Sabha

He, however, said expenses might be increasing with the number of candidates and political parties going up.

What is causing concern is non-transparent way of funding through corporate donations, Krishnamurthy said.

According to him, people can give donations to a and get 100 per cent tax exemptions on their contribution.

“That fund will be spent by the Election Commission on the basis of guidelines to be drawn in consultation with all political parties (on how to utilise the money raised to fund elections),” the former CEC suggested.

“Public funding of the .. that’s the only way; corporates should not be involved in giving donations to political parties,” Krishnamurthy told PTI.

Companies cannot give donations to political parties as it promotes nexus, he had said earlier.

Asserting that there was an urgent need for electoral reforms, the former CEC recalled that he had given about 20 suggestions to the government in 2004, while the Law Commission and several other bodies had also given advice on electoral reforms addressing deficiencies in the system.

Krishnamurthy regretted that none of the political parties had seriously addressed the issue of electoral reforms.

“Individually they (politicians) are not happy (with the electoral system), but collectively they seem to be happy with the status-quo,” he remarked.

Krishnamurthy reiterated that even without VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail), electronic voting machines (EVMs) are credible.

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