Majority of candidates contesting elections in India are “under-reporting” their expenses and the absence of adequate laws to regulate political funds may lead to a “fearful” situation where institutions go under the “control of money” and holding fair polls becomes difficult, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi said on Tuesday.
Zaidi was addressing a South Asian countries’ conference, on, ‘Use of Money in Politics and Effects on People Representation’.
Pointing out the ineffective framework to regulate donations received and funds raised by political parties, the CEC said: “Elections are becoming expensive. Ordinary citizens, even with outstanding personal record, cannot even dream to contest polls. Available resources are being garnered by few political parties and their candidates. This situation is making parties dependent on money power with all adverse implications on the society and polity.”
Referring to EC data, he said, “Of 535 winners in the last Parliamentary elections, expenses of most winners were between 40 and 80%. In reality, candidates spend several times their legal limit to run campaign.” EC has fixed the expense for Lok Sabha polls at Rs 70 lakh and for Assembly polls at Rs 28 lakh for each candidate.