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Set up national election fund and ban corporate donations, says former CEC Krishnamurthy

As a part of electoral reforms, former poll panel chief T.S. Krishnamurthy suggested a 100% tax exemption on donations to the national fund.

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Hyderabad: Former chief election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy Tuesday pushed for public funding of elections by way of donations to a national election fund and favoured ban on corporate donations to political parties as part of electoral reforms.

Krishnamurthy, who oversaw the 2004 general elections, declined to comment on a report of a think-tank that about Rs 60,000 crore were spent in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

He, however, said expenses might be increasing with the number of candidates and political parties going up.

What is causing concern is non-transparent way of funding through corporate donations, Krishnamurthy said.

According to him, people can give donations to a national election fund and get 100 per cent tax exemptions on their contribution.

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“That fund will be spent by the Election Commission on the basis of guidelines to be drawn in consultation with all political parties (on how to utilise the money raised to fund elections),” the former CEC suggested.

“Public funding of the elections… that’s the only way; corporates should not be involved in giving donations to political parties,” Krishnamurthy told PTI.

Companies cannot give donations to political parties as it promotes nexus, he had said earlier.

Asserting that there was an urgent need for electoral reforms, the former CEC recalled that he had given about 20 suggestions to the government in 2004, while the Law Commission and several other bodies had also given advice on electoral reforms addressing deficiencies in the system.

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Krishnamurthy regretted that none of the political parties had seriously addressed the issue of electoral reforms.

“Individually they (politicians) are not happy (with the electoral system), but collectively they seem to be happy with the status-quo,” he remarked.

Krishnamurthy reiterated that even without VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail), electronic voting machines (EVMs) are credible.

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  1. This idea is more than 30 years old. It was, then, so widely talked about that it wasn’t confined to discussion papers but was published in printed books. It has obviously never come out of drawing room brainstormings. A CEC talking about it after so many years sounds artifical.

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