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Cong MP withdraws Bill seeking removal of cap on poll expenses

Earlier, speaking against the Bill, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that if the limit on election spending is removed, it will give rise to money power in the elections."

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
March 14, 2020 4:10:38 am
Rajeev Gowda slams PM Modi Gowda said that despite opposition from the Election Commission, the RBI and “numerous entities, who are institutions that safeguard the sanctity of India and our democracy” the government went ahead and brought the electoral bonds.

Calling the electoral bonds scheme a “deform” instead of a reform, Congress MP M V Rajeev Gowda told Rajya Sabha on Friday that they promote opacity and black money. He was concluding the discussion on a private member’s Bill that he introduced last year and withdrew on Friday. The Bill sought an amendment to Representation of the People Act, 1951 so as to remove limits on expenditure by candidates during election campaigns.

Referring to electoral bonds, he said, “They are opaque. There, you do not know that in the claim it is white money because it comes from banks. But, during demonetisation, we saw how much black money was readily converted into white. This got rid of to make Electoral Bonds worth… Now, even shell companies can go out there and be created to contribute to Electoral Bonds, and round tripping could happen; all types of problems could happen, all because of the great innovation that has been brought in by this government.”

“Further, we suspect that because this information about who is contributing is available only to the government, that they can pressurise the bank and they can figure out who has contributed and who has not; that they can coerce people to contribute to electoral bonds, and then, what you end up with, you end up with the 95 per cent of the resources going to the ruling party,” he said.

Gowda said that despite opposition from the Election Commission, the RBI and “numerous entities, who are institutions that safeguard the sanctity of India and our democracy” the government went ahead and brought the electoral bonds.

Earlier, speaking against the Bill, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that if the limit on election spending is removed, it will give rise to money power in the elections. “…if election has to be free and fair, election should not be a display of naked wealth, election should not be the election of affluence, election should not be the election of display of rabid money power,” the law minister said.

“There have also been aberrations. I will not deny that. But, we all have to collectively work to improve the working of the system of democracy which we are so proud of. And, if this Bill is accepted, it will surely weaken the purity of India’s electoral process,” he said.

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