Political parties support trust under EC to disburse corporate funding

Cutting across political affiliations, parties on Sunday batted for a national trust under the Election Commission to disburse money donated by corporates for political activities while disfavouring direct corporate funding to them.

New Delhi: Cutting across political affiliations, parties on Sunday batted for a national trust under the Election Commission to disburse money donated by corporates for political activities while disfavouring direct corporate funding to them.

While "70 per cent" of the participants agreed that there was need for state funding of political parties, they insisted that more consultations were required to work out the modalities in this regard.

Participating in consultations on 'political funding and Law Commission recommendations on electoral reforms', 38 representatives from political parties also agreed broadly on the need for having fast track courts to try electoral offences.

Outlining the broad areas of agreement, Chief Election Commissioner H S Brahma and Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said, "70 per cent of the participants favoured state funding but there was a view that more consultations were required to work out the modalities."

"There was a broad consensus that there should be no corporate funding of political parties and instead a National Electoral Trust under the control of the EC should be set up for corporate donations," Brahma said.

They said the EC should no more rely on the Law Ministry to frame rules and it should be vested with the power to cut delays. Legislative Department in the Law Ministry is the administrative unit for EC.

Brahma said participants agreed that there was a need to control 'big money' in elections and the culture of 'vote buying' needs to be checked.

Accepting the need for transparency of accounts of parties and candidates, there was also a broad agreement on need to monitor 'third party' campaigners during polls.

"We will now write to the Law Ministry saying that the recommendations of the consultations be treated as political consensus...We will see in which areas there was a disagreement and see how EC and the Law Commission can step in. We will also see if there is a need to put on hold some recommendations or drop them altogether," Zaidi said.  

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