Kolkata : Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Saturday he supported state funding of elections.
“I would support it (state funding of elections),” he said when asked for comments at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary meet here.
“Fighting an election has become an extremely costly affair. Even getting a ticket becomes a costly affair for candidates of many parties. It costs much more than the Election Commission legally allows (to fight elections),” the senior Congress leader said.
“Elections cost money. You have to convey your message (to the voters). I have in my constituency, 3000 villages. Even to reach those villages, it costs money,” he said.
Chidambaram said he did not know whether his party would support the demand, but would nevertheless raise it in the Congress.
Further, he called for a transparent system through which business could fund elections and find legal alternative means of funding elections through electoral trusts.
“Businessmen are like any other citizens, entitled to support their causes, which will advance business. We must encourage businessmen to set up electoral trusts and make donations to political parties,” he added.
Electoral trusts are considered as non-profit companies in India. Trusts can receive voluntary contributions from any Indian citizen or a registered Indian company for the purpose of financing of elections of a registered political party. Section 17CA of Income Tax Rules lays specifies the functions of an electoral trust.
Chidambaram also questioned on election expenditure fixed by the election commission limits.
JAN DHAN A/CS
Chidambaram also said there was no evidence that majority of the Jan Dhan accounts were used for money laundering post-currency withdrawal.
“Evidences do not point out that there was wholesale use of Jan Dhan accounts for money laundering purposes. Nearly 25 per cent of the JanDhan accounts were having zero balances and in the remaining, the average balance was Rs 27,000,” he said at the Kolkata Literary Meet . –IANS