Corporate funding to parties be channeled through EC: Yechury



Nagpur: Calling for corporate funding to political parties be stopped forthwith, CPI(M) Polit Buro member Sitaram Yechury on Sunday said instead the money should be donated to the Election Commission which can use it to help candidates in their poll campaigns.

"The EC can help the candidates by providing them fuel, vehicles, drivers and also publish their posters and provide printed election material. This way all the candidates of respective parties will be benefited," Yechury said.

The CPI(M) is strongly in favour of state funding of elections, but in kind (in the form of expenditure on vehicles, posters, etc in poll campaigns), he told a gathering while delivering a lecture on 'Has democracy been hijacked by money power', organised by an NGO.

He said one of the reforms needed with regard to state funding of elections is to overcome the menace of "black money" and donations received by political parties.

Yechury alleged that political parties receive money from corporates which, in turn, expect favours from them.

He claimed that once the CPI(M) had received a cheque from a prominent business house, but the then party general secretary Surjeet Singh promptly returned it.

Referring to Anna Hazare's agitation on corruption and black money, Yechury said they are talking only about "demand side (receiving) but not about supply side (giving) which needs to be plugged".

He said during the last 60 years no political party which came to power had at least 50 per cent vote percentage of elected MPs.

Rajiv Gandhi's government came close to 42 per cent, the incumbent UPA government enjoys 27 per cent while the remaining were opposition votes, he said.

For betterment of overall democracy, the Parliament and Assemblies must sit for at least 100 days in a year.

He also called for fine-tuning the democracy in its 60th year saying it badly needed fresh lease of life.

"When we turn 60, it is celebrated with a hope that a new life has to begin. Similarly when Indian democracy is turning 60, why not infuse a new lease of life in it with radical reforms and changes," Yechury said.

PTI