Clean at the source
There is enough merit in Aam Aadmi Party’s demand that Election Commission undertakes investigation into allegedly illegitimate foreign funding received by both Congress and BJP to rev up their electoral prospects. AAP, which has made source of funding a poll plank, is right in asking for disclosure of the names of entities and persons who have showered the main political parties with enough financial ammunition, an observation also made by Delhi High Court only a few days back. Inasmuch as accepting foreign funds in gross violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act exposes the parties as taking favours from major corporate houses, AAP’s plea to EC must be heeded to immediately. Donations from Indian subsidiaries of UK-based Vedanta resources, which have stakes in several controversial mining projects, only exposes how non-serious the parties are about either practicing model code of conduct as laid down by the EC, or even battling corruption in their own turf. Given that no action can be expected from the home ministry, which has more or less exonerated the big league parties from the allegations of using black money in elections, the HC judgment and AAP’s constant drumming up of the issue are significant developments that might keep the struggle for transparency alive this poll season. The nascent party’s barrage of criticism against the corporate-political nexus, as well as its expositions dealing with conflict of interest, bribery and other forms of self-service within mainstream polity, will play an important role insofar as mobilising youth and urban votes are concerned.However, the question remains if AAP alone can fight this regime of entrenched unethical practices.