NEW DELHI: Calling electoral bonds a deeply regressive move by the government, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury Tuesday said that it will open a route for dubious funds to pass unrecorded, undeclared to certain political parties.
In a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Yechury said that the electoral bonds, along with the retrospective amendment to the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) that allows indirect political funding by foreign companies and the lifting of the maximum limit that corporates can contribute to political parties are the most retrogressive steps taken towards political funding and must be rolled back.
“No clean up of political funding is possible minus state funding, at least in substantial part, of election,” he said. The left leader suggested for constituting a State fund for electoral funding and corporates must be asked to give a part of their funding towards this. The funds be divided among political parties based on vote share or number of seats won by them.
The CPI (M) also demanded on the need to limit the amount spent by political parties for election campaigns.
“There is a limit on the amount that candidates can spend during election campaign while there is no limit on spending by political parties. This makes a mockery of the very idea of having a limit on the campaign spending. We urge you to bring the Expenditure of political parties within legal limit, violation of which would be subject to stringent punishment,” said Yechury.
Expressing concern that the measures put in place by the government will render the funding of political parties more opaque, he said: “What it does is to provide an electoral bond route for dubious funds, to pass, unrecorded and undeclared, shielded from the public eye, to certain political parties.”