Cap on poll spend: Cong for, BJP against

Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi claimed that the stand was supported by at least 70% of the political parties who attended the EC meeting

Several political parties on Monday backed the Election Commission proposal to cap overall expenditure on election campaigns in a bid to curb use of “obscene amounts” of money during polls.

“The Election Commission should specify an upper limit for election expenditure by political parties at the earliest,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here and claimed that the stand was supported by at least 70% of the political parties who attended the meeting convened by the poll authority.

Senior Congress leader Mukul Wasnik said, “obscene amount of money” was spent by the BJP in the recent assembly elections in Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. He noted that at times the expenditure incurred by the party was 100 to 500 times greater than the expenses cap on individual candidates.

The Congress also favoured a cap on expenditure by political parties on advertisments in the media as well as on hiring transport such as helicopters and private planes used in electioneering. 

BJP differs

The BJP, however, did not favour capping expenditure by political parties contending that it may encourage politics based on caste and individual influence.

“The ECI may moot better transparency than limiting expenses,” BJP leader Bhupender Yadav said, arguing that campaign by political parties also encourage greater voter participation in the elections.

Some political parties also suggested to the Election Commission to link Aadhaar number of voters with electoral rolls to weed out duplicate voters.

Congress stressed on the need for a law for ensuring greater representation of women in state assemblies and Parliament. “If seats are reserved for women candidates in state and general elections, women candidates would not have to rely on the discretion of their parties,” Wasnik said.

BJP said it was committed to the empowerment of women in all walks of life and blamed Opposition parties for creating hindrances in the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill.

Quota for women

The Election Commission had cited embarrassing statistics to make a case for greater representation of women in state legislatures and Parliament. There are only 11.4% women in the 16th Lok Sabha, against the global average of 22.9%.

Sweden, Argentina, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Rwanda and Bolivia have laws reserving seats for women in their respective legislatures, the Commission noted.

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Cap on poll spend: Cong for, BJP against

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