Crowd-funding of political parties ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Crowd-funding of political parties ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Lob Sabha polls are due in 2019 and all the political parties have stepped up their game with alliances and bargains taking center stage.  The Election Commission of India held an all-party meeting in New Delhi where the major political national parties and 51 regional parties were invited to discuss different issues such as paper ballots, the limit on election expenses and domestic migrant voting.

Another thing in the agenda was a timely submission by parties of annual audited reports, the inclusion of print media as a medium to appeal for votes prior to election and gender representation in political parties.

The key issue which became a discussion point during the all-party meet was the funding of political parties and if a limit should be imposed on the amount of money that parties can spend during an election campaign.

The expenditure of conducting the Lok Sabha elections is borne by the Centre while the state governments spend to maintain law and order during the Lok Sabha elections.

However, there are no limits on the expenditure incurred by political parties and hence large sums of money are raised and spent by them during their election campaigns.

ECI statement on Lok Sabha elections

All registered political parties have to submit before the ECI a statement of election expenditure. Similarly, within 30 days after the conclusion of the Lok Sabha elections, all contesting candidates are required to produce an expenditure statement before the ECI.

Political parties are supposed to provide details of total amounts provided to contesting candidates and to provide details on amounts received to the ECI.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal launched a nationwide crowd-funding initiative to raise funds for the next years’ Lok Sabha elections.  The parties donation drive is known as ‘Aap Ka Daan, Rashtra Ka Nirmaan’ (Your donation will develop the nation).

The Indian National Congress members are visiting homes with donation vouchers of Rs,50, Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 to take on the financially well to do BJP.

The BJP is accepting the donation on the Narendra Modi App.  The drive of collection donation is known as ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’. The party accepts a donation from Rs.5 to a maximum of Rs.1,000.

Seven national parties received Rs.710.80 crore from unknown sources during 2016-17.

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