Rajya Sabha discusses Bill to scrap poll spend limit

M.V. Rajeev Gowda

M.V. Rajeev Gowda  


Several members raise concerns

The Rajya Sabha on Friday discussed two private members’ Bills to do away with the cap on election spending by candidates and to establish a committee on foreign investment to prevent threats to national security.

Continuing the discussion on the amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, introduced by Congress MP M.V. Rajeev Gowda in the last session, several MPs raised concerns about doing away with the spending limit of ₹70 lakh per candidate.

For a part of the discussion, Prof. Gowda presided over the House in the absence of chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu and Deputy Chairperson Harivansh.

Black money

Opposing the Bill, BJP MP Rakesh Sinha said increasing the limit would not strengthen democracy.

Congress MP P.L. Punia said the real expenditure on elections was higher than the limits and black money was still prevalent.

However, he said removing the limit would not be right. Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of the Samajwadi Party raised concerns over “paid news,” saying a media company had approached him to pay ₹20 lakh in exchange for coverage.

G.V.L Narasimha Rao of the BJP said there was money being spent on “illegitimate purposes,” including “paid news” by candidates. He said the current limits could be reviewed, with a separate provision for media publicity being allowed.

Meanwhile, a Bill to set up a committee on foreign investment was introduced by Narendra Jadhav.

“This Bill essentially seeks to protect our national security, while promoting foreign direct investment. This is sought to be done by reforming the process by which foreign investments are examined in the light of national security considerations,” he said.

Both Bills would be taken up again, likely in the next session.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:46:29 PM |

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