Ban corporate, NGO donations to parties: Owaisi

Ban corporate, NGO donations to parties: Owaisi

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi during the Lokmat National Conclave in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

It is easier to run a political party than fight elections for smaller political outfits like AIMIM due to paucity of election funds, party chief Asaduddin Owaisi said here on Thursday, even as he opined there should be a ban on corporate and NGO donations to political parties.

Speaking at the first edition of Indian Democracy at a Work conference at Indian School of Business (ISB), he said electoral bonds "defile" as far as transparency is concerned. There was no level playing field, he said, adding that the real cost of sustaining a political party was in competing with disproportionately richer political groups, which are now backed by corporate donations. This means that parties would not only have to compete for voters, but also for being in the good books of large businesses, he said. "Therefore the most urgent reform, I am of the opinion, is to prohibit all forms of corporate donations and prohibit NGO donations.

Let citizens of India contribute," he said. Describing donations through electoral bonds as a "mystery", Owaisi said they lack transparency. "If electoral bonds are being given to big political parties like Congress and BJP, they will be answerable to those mysterious organisations which we do not know who is giving what. That is why I feel that running a political party is not a herculean task but fighting elections is getting difficult for smaller parties," the Hyderabad MP said.

He said there is no possibility of obliging donors for parties representing marginalised groups as they don't enjoy power nor do they have caste and community networks that can mobilise large sums of money.

"The party which I represent (AIMIM), we do a lot of work apart from fighting elections and giving so-called hate speeches," he said. Congress Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda suggested the creation of a national election fund to support political parties during polls and opined that it would curb money flow.

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