February 8, 2017
Dola Sen’s Zero Hour mention on the need for electoral reforms and state funding of elections
Thank you Honourable Deputy Chairman for this opportunity to raise an issue today, which has been part of my party’s DNA, its very existence, since it was established on 1st January, 1998. In the last 18 years, the first section of every manifesto, which the Trinamool has introduced for every election, has been dedicated to electoral reforms.
We believe that the solution to electoral reforms is state funding. State funding of elections have been done in various countries. Whatever model can be used, we need to sit down, get a consensus among all political parties and take steps towards this in a time bound manner.
This Government is only doing decorative gimmicks. It has capped donations to political parties from Rs 20000 to Rs 2000. This is not a solution. The Finance Minister has introduced electoral bonds. How is this a solution? Electoral bonds cannot be the solution. Corporate A or Individual A will buy certain bonds and that shall be passed on to the political parties.
The biggest problem here is that in this age where privacy laws in India are so poor, there is scope for leaks. In October 2016, 21 lakh debit and credit cards’ information was leaked. How will the identity of donors who fund elections and political parties be anonymous? This is not at all a solution.
My party, Trinamool Congress is now a national party. We really believe in finding long-term solutions for this. We need to
- Do electoral state funding through election commission
- Come up with a transparent system
- Bring about a consensus on this
- Do not rush through anything right now
The style of the government – everything they do is short term. I hope for this, they will take a long-term view.