Former Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishnamurthy, who headed the poll panel during the 2004 General Elections, on Tuesday called for elections to be funded through donations from the public, and said he favours a ban on corporate funding, PTI reported. However, he refused to comment on a think tank’s report that Rs 60,000 crore was spent in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Krishnamurthy said expenses incurred during elections may be increasing due to rising number of candidates and political parties. The former election official suggested that the public fund could be “spent by the Election Commission on the basis of guidelines to be drawn in consultation with all political parties”.

The former chief election commissioner claimed that a nexus is formed when companies donate money to political parties. People can instead donate to the national election fund in exchange for 100% tax exemption for their contributions, he added.

Krishnamurthy recalled that in 2004 he gave the government almost 20 suggestions regarding electoral reforms. The Law Commission, along with several other bodies, had also provided suggestions on the matter and addressed the loopholes in the system. However, no political party seriously took up the matter, Krishnamurthy lamented.

“Individually they [politicians] are not happy [with the electoral system], but collectively they seem to be happy with the status quo,” he said, and added that electronic voting machines were credible even without the voter-verified paper audit trail system.

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