Mamata Banerjee writes to PM Modi over electoral reforms; says ‘time has come for govt funding of polls’


West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over “electoral reforms to prevent corruption & criminality”. In a three page letter, She stated, “time has come for government funding of elections which is the norm in 65 countries”.

Talking about poll expenditure in the national polls 2019, Mamata Banerjee quoted a recently published report – ‘Poll Expenditure, the 2019 Elections of the Centre Media Studies’ and said ‘Lok Sabha Polls 2019 was the most expensive ever, anywhere and was twice as expensive as the Parliamentary elections of 2014.

She added, quoting the report, ‘the poll expenditure of the Parliamentary Election in 2019 has crossed all limits reaching a minimum Of Rs. 60,000 crore ($ 8.65 billion) and maximum expenditure remains unknown and could be much higher.

She also added that the amount spent by other developing countries are much less than this. ‘May I point out combined expenditure in the United States of America for Presidential and Congressional elections in 2016 was $6.5 billion’, she said backing her argument.

She further added, ‘You are well aware that political parties spent lavishly on publicity and logistics and are said to have even distrusted cash for votes’.

Stressing upon the need for government funding of elections, Mamata Banerjee said, ‘It is worth mentioning that countries, where political parties received direct public funding, include major developed countries like Germany, France, UK, Japan, Italy, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Denmark, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, etc.’

‘Even developing countries like Mexico Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, Namibia, Mozambique, Guatemala, recieve direct public funding.

She further requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to call an all-party meeting with the single agenda of Public funding of Elections in India, with the objective of rooting out what has been called ‘Mother of all corruption’.



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