Monday 12 February 2018

Is Political funding difficult subject for Uttarakhand People ?

Written by Anil Singh

For a common man, political funding is a difficult subject. It is not that they don not understand the subject/topic. They do understand it. But what makes the subject of political funding (money given to political parties) difficult is how we see it.

In most cases, people react in favor or in opposition to political funding based on their political biases. For eg. If a person likes a political party or a particular ideology, then there are high chances that he/she will see such a funding as necessary or Good. Or he/she may simply ignore it. The opposite of it is equally correct. Indians as highly motivated beings, see every paisa received by a political rival as black money.

Both the above views are far from truth.

Political parties do need money to survive and fight political rivals. The best way to ensure their survival is through public donations. This mode of funding is far better than the recent idea of State Funding of Elections in India. If said simply, then if people and political parties contest elections to run a country for people, then funds provided by people makes Governments more answerable and responsible to people.

What we need is transparency in political funding. At present, political funding is NOT transparent. Even the recent reforms in political funding have not changed anything. In fact, political funding has become even more opaque now. For instance, the identity of anyone who gives political fund above a certain amount (3 Lakh) will not be made public. It is difficult to understand how providing a veil of anonymity (in Hindi "pahchan chhupane ka parda") to the biggest fund givers of a political party will serve the interests of the people. Remember, most of the money in any political party's account comes from these biggest fund givers. The interests of these fund givers are different from those of people.

There is another point which is least needed in any transparent political funding. If I recall correctly, then while the Government can look into the funding of those political opponents, the latter can it do the same.

The primary reason for writing about political funding today is Amar Ujala's an entire page coverage of the political funding initiative of the BJP -- a political party which at present is in Government in Uttarakhand. It's in today's newspaper. The coverage speaks about BJP surpassing its goal for funds from the  Lifelong memberships. The party managed to collect Rs 25 crores. The coverage hardly serves any public interest. For the reasons already shared here. It may something about the BJP's popularity in Uttarakhand, but it doesn't tell the entire money the party receives as funds.  Thus the coverage looks more like a PR exercise. The same space could be used for more meaningful news.


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