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Crony capitalism running India: Quraishi

The “sources” of nearly the entire money spent during elections in the country are “not known” and “crony capitalism is running the country,” the former Chief Election Commissioner Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi told The Hindu on Saturday.

While he made a suggestion to stop the flow of private capital into elections, no one paid heed to it. However, policy-makers need to address the issue of corporate funding of elections, as it had become “extremely serious,” Mr. Quraishi said.

He was here to release the third edition of his book, An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian Election.

“Only 20 per cent of the source of funding to any political party is known,” said the former CEC, who retired about two-and-half-years ago.“We [Election Commission] do not know the nature of this [80 per cent] funding. Is it coming from the mafias? Is it related to drugs or crimes? No one has any idea. We do not know if it is corporate funding,” Mr. Quraishi said.

Refusing to name any particular business group or industrialist, Mr. Quraishi said funding of elections was a serious matter, as it had a domino effect. “Why the EC asks to stop these collections from corporate groups is because you [political parties] get beholden to this. If you take money from corporate groups, you will end up giving them contracts … so it is not just fund collection. It is about their [political parties] nexus with corporate groups and it is very serious, while everybody knows about this.”“It is crony capitalism led by corporates which is running the country. They get their bureaucrats … their ministers appointed,” he said.

Mr. Quraishi believes that elections could be made transparent, as they are in most European countries.

“Let there be funding of political parties by the government,” he said. “The political parties can be given 100 rupees for each of the votes to meet election expenses. I have calculated that it will not be more than Rs. 5,500 crore or even less for about the 54 crore voters we have.”

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:33:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/crony-capitalism-running-india-quraishi/article6713742.ece

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