Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over electoral reforms and funding.
In a letter, the TMC chief draws the PM’s attention to 2019 general elections, the minimum expense of which was stated to be Rs 60,000 crore ($ 8.65 billion), “crossing all limits”. She goes on to compare the amount spent by the US on its 2016 presidential elections, which, she quotes as $ 6.5 billion.
She writes, “In a developing country like ours, the elections in 2019 became the world’s most expensive.”
Sounding warning bells, Mamata adds that if the present trend is followed in the next general elections in 2024, then the poll expenditure could cross Rs 1 lakh crore.
She calls out India for having “gained notoriety of spending the largest amount of funds in 2019 elections in the world, particularly because of the concerns relating to corruption”.
Further, the West Bengal CM urges the Prime Minister to call an all-party meeting with the single agenda of public funding of elections in India, with the objective of rooting out what has been called the “Mother of corruption”.
She emphasises that for free, fair and transparent elections in India, electoral reforms including government funding of elections are a must.