Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee expressed the need for the Election Commission to be “self-sufficient” and be equipped with its own infrastructure instead of having to rely on the State governments' and at times a partisan bureaucracy.

“In a State like West Bengal where there has been no change for the past 35 years…we are the worst victims,” Ms. Banerjee said here on Sunday.

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, however, pointed out that the cost of maintaining a separate infrastructure by the Commission for a vast country like India with an electorate of over 70 crores may not work out in economic terms. It may also result in parallelism in administration.

On the issue of synchronising Assembly and General elections, Mr. Mukherjee said one of the major reasons for frequent elections were the fractured mandates being thrown up in several elections that had also led to instability in the governments formed.

If an Assembly has to be dissolved within a year of the holding of the elections, what will be done? President's Rule cannot be imposed on a State for four years till the next elections , he said.

Countering corruption

Ms. Banerjee pressed for synchronised State and Parliamentary elections. She also suggested State funding of elections to counter corruption and an end to the criminalisation of politics by controlling the “money power, muscle power and mafia power.”