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Former Chief Election Commissioner echoes CM's demand for electoral reform

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's demand for electoral reform in the country has been validated by former Chief Election Commissioner of India S Y Quraishi, who strongly advocated for state funding in the elections.

While delivering his speech at a special session called in commemoration of Constitution Day at the Bengal Assembly, Quraishi on Tuesday said that there must be a ceiling in election expenditure of the candidates contesting an election.

He also said that it was necessary to bring in electoral reforms in the country, so that an independent audit can be conducted to assess the election expenditure of the candidates.

"There must be a ceiling in the election expenditure of various political parties. If there is an electoral reform, it would help in conducting an independent audit to ascertain the expenditure, thereby bringing more transparency into the system," Quraishi said.

Quraishi also felt that an electoral reform would bring accountability on the part of the candidates contesting an election. It may be mentioned here that the Chief Minister has been demanding electoral reforms for many years, in order to bring transparency to the entire procedure.

During the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, Banerjee had accused BJP of pumping in unaccounted cash. On a number of occasions, she alleged that BJP leaders had tried to influence the voters by providing them money.

She had also appealed to the Election Commission to check such incidents and proposed the introduction of an electoral reform so that the expenditure of the candidates can be easily monitored.

There were instances where people were arrested while carrying a huge amount of money ahead of this year's Lok Sabha elections in Bengal. The Chief Minister's demand has now been echoed by the former Chief Election Commissioner of India.

Quraishi has also lauded the Trinamool Congress supremo for fielding around 43 percent women candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

"Banerjee created history by fielding 43 percent women candidates during the elections. This is a very significant move and it will encourage other political parties to field more women candidates in an election," Quraishi said.

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