Khagendra Kumar, Editor

The Election Commission of India raised the limit of expenditure for loksabha election upto 70 lakh taking cost escalation into account. This does not appear to be an appreciable step of the Commission. This is a huge amount for a common voter of India. Anything that is beyond the reach of common people is dangerous for democracy. The danger is so high that the honest and committed common people do not dare contesting elections as they find themselves incapable of competing with those who spend crores of rupees on campaigning. Even if the expenditure limit is extended to 70 crore, the use of black money cannot be checked in electioneering. In fact the black money is illegal and any exercise to make the illegal money legal is itself an illegal practice and smells connivance of the state machinery with wrong doers. It is a well-known fact that major funding of political parties in India is done by big industrialists and corporate houses. Hence political parties and their governments are controlled by big industrialists and corporate houses. And this will continue until electioneering is made cost free and candidature of those candidates must be cancelled if they violate the principle of cost free campaign.

The election commission must develop plan to take the voices of the political parties and candidates to the remotest village by involving public and private media and installation of community radio and television in almost all schools and community centres where all get fair share to communicate to the people either by publication of their manifesto and point of views or by speaking to the people daily for some time as per advertised schedule. The election commission through local administration should make a schedule for road shows and speeches at various routes and grounds for all candidates. Common public hoardings may be shared by all political parties and their candidates including independents.

At the same time it must be mandatory to make audit of the state expenses incurred on election mandatory. If the state expenditure on election is audited, there would be huge reduction on the election expenditure. There is no point in not auditing the public money spent on elections.