Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 9
CPI (M) head Sitaram Yechury on Friday urged Election Commission to ensure level playing field to all political parties in fray in the ensuing Assembly elections in Bihar, especially with regard expenditure on their campaigns.
In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Yechury urged for acceptable and common ground rules, and EC’s direction to all the political parties concerned in the Bihar election in the matter.
Besides, he drew EC’s attention to the funding to political parties, particularly in light of the electoral bond scheme.
Yechury raised the funding issue in the backdrop of announcement of the poll schedule, even as the validity of Union government’s electoral bond scheme is under consideration of the Supreme Court.
He wondered how the EC would discharge its mandate of conducting the poll in the midst of cobweb surrounding such a vital issue.
The EC had submitted to the apex court that electoral bonds will signal “serious repercussions on the transparency aspect of political funding of political parties”.
In this context, it had contended that donations made through electoral bonds have been taken out of the compulsory reporting norms through changes made in the Finance Act of 2017 and subsequent changes made in the Income Tax Act as well as the Representation of People Act.
Also, the CPI(M) leader expressed apprehension at BJP using mass media and social media to its advantage if principles of equanimity and equality were not enforced.
“The experience in recent times clearly shows that BJP, armed with its enormous money power, enjoys a disproportionate advantage over all other political parties”, Yechury said.
He dredged up the issue of the proper functioning of the EVMs in “real situation” of polling, and the susceptibilities of the VVPAT to possible rigging.
The CPI(M) leaders brought them in focus even while EC had gone on a limb past to dispel apprehensions and doubts on EVMs and VVPAT in the past.
“Since the VVPAT is exposed to external changes with constituency and candidate/symbol specific information, manipulation in the final EVM recording becomes that much more possible”, Yechury said.