Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to the prime minister on July 25, urging him to call an all-party meeting to discuss government funding of elections in the country.
She said, citing a report, that the 2019 general election was the most expensive ever, anywhere. A whopping Rs 60,000 crore was spent, almost double that of 2014, and the next general election could see the total expenditure rise to Rs 1 lakh crore, she said.
The mother of all corruption lies in spiralling election expenditure, she further wrote, and so if the latter cannot be checked, neither will the former.
Pointing out “flaws” in the system, Mamata Banerjee wrote how some political parties spend lavishly on publicity and logistics and are said to even distribute cash for getting votes, while the Election Commission of India has imposed a strict limit only on the expenditure incurred by candidates on their election campaign and not on political parties.
The issue is broadly of electoral reforms and specifically of preventing corruption and criminality in our democratic polity. She wrote that the time has come for government funding of elections, which is the norm in 65 countries.
This is the second letter Mamata Banerjee has written to the prime minister over the last one week. On July 23, she had written to protest the privatisation of ordnance factories in the country.