While the decision to team up with the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu helped the CPI(M) and the CPI win two seats each in Lok Sabha polls, the two Left parties seem to be caught up in an embarrassing situation now, with reports that the Marxist party received Rs 10 crore and the CPI Rs 15 crore from the DMK, according to DMK’s election expenditure affidavit submitted to the Election Commission (EC).
A senior CPI(M) leader with knowledge of the transactions during the election process said the party did nothing illegal, and the only question can be about ethics in receiving such a large amount from a party leading the alliance.
According to the DMK’s affidavit, the party spent Rs 79.26 crore during the polls, including Rs 40 crore given to the three alliance partners: CPI, CPI(M) and Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi, which received Rs 15 crore.
Even though DMK and the Left parties ruled out any controversy, citing that these were legal transactions, made through bank transactions and available in public domain, it may be embarrassing for the two parties to explain to the cadre why they accepted such large amounts.
A DMK spokesperson said there was “nothing unusual or illegal”, and there was no scope for controversy over an amount that was paid to an alliance partner for expenses through a legal channel.
Both CPI(M) state secretary K Balakrishnan and CPI secretary R Mutharasan said that it was not a shady deal but a transparent one. Responding to allegations that the party accepted money for elections, the CPI(M) Politburo in a statement said that the controversy surrounding the cash transaction is “disinformation designed to discredit the party”.
“Contrary to the allegation, all donations and funds received during the period of Lok Sabha elections have been reflected in the statement of election accounts submitted to the Election Commission of India. This includes donations and contributions received from all over the country, including Tamil Nadu, the Politburo stated. “Nothing is hidden, as falsely alleged,” it emphasised.
Agreeing that it is “a fact that we have to explain this to our cadres”, the CPI(M) leader quoted above said, “Traditionally we have met election expenses of our candidates on our own —- by collecting money from people – but when we strike an alliance with a larger party, expenses for a single rally of their their high-profile leader for our candidate’s campaign will be around half of our total spending for the entire campaign.
The amount we received through bank transactions were handed over to DMK local leaders in both constituencies for campaign expenses, including mega-rallies organised by them (DMK).”