Tamil Nadu

‘Electoral bonds will lead to crony capitalism’

S.Y. Quraishi

S.Y. Quraishi   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi on Monday spoke out against electoral bonds, warning they would lead to capitalists running the country.

"I used to say that any reform is a good reform. But, I have my reservations about it now. One reform which was done recently is very, very destructive. Electoral bonds have been introduced....Crores of rupees paid by companies: you will not get to know who has given money to whom. Now, that is not transparency," he said.

Mr. Quraishi was speaking at a discussion on electoral reforms, organised by the Quaide Milleth International Academy of Media Studies and the Southern India Education Trust. “Now, a company can exist to run political parties; 100% profits will go there. This is crony capitalism. Capitalists will run the country: as probably they have been for years and now, more legalised," he said.

Mr. Quraishi also said that the moral authority around arguments favouring the holding of simultaneous elections have been lost after the Election Commission staggered the holding of assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka along with bye-elections.

The former CEC said it was “ridiculous” that, if a newly-elected Lok Sabha collapses, the states will be forced into elections under a system where simultaneous elections exist. “People love elections. Because, for poor people, this is the only power they have....One of the reasons given by our leaders is that a lot of money of political parties and government is spent....I think it is a very nice thing because at least ₹30,000 crore from politicians goes to the poor people during elections," he said.

Mr. Quraishi said 40 reform proposals by the Election Commission were pending with the Centre. he added that if he could change only one thing, he would change the way the two Election Commissioners are removed and appointment process of the ECI itself.He said that CECs should be appointed by a collegium and that Election Commissioners should not be forced to serve at their pleasure. and they too, should be removable only by impeachment. "[Election Commissioners]The appointment system of the most powerful Commission in the world is the most defective," he said.

Moosa Raza, the Chairman of the SIET, said that people should register to vote and cast their votes if they want to affect political change. "If you want this country to be governed of your choice, then you should go and exercise that choice...No nation's destiny is changed unless the community itself wants to change it. If you don't want to do it, then remain isolated," he said.

Abusaleh Shariff, the former secretary general of the Sachar Committee, expressed concerns about voter registrations and potential exclusions based on his experience in the recent Karnataka assembly elections.

Mr. Shariff argued that citizenship should be considered the fourth pillar of human development, after per capita income, health and education. "What if we do not have a proper citizenship identity....Can there be class difference in citizenship? Can be the very existence of citizenship be a threat to Muslims?," he said.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:02:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/electoral-bonds-will-lead-to-crony-capitalism/article24315406.ece

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