Intro: Electoral Reforms are the need of the hour not the Gimmicks, though AAP started with one agenda to reform but end up having another system of violating the Law. No substantial debate has been done by the rebels on this.
Jayaprakash Narayan popularly known as JP started Sampurna Kranti (Total Revolution) against the corruption and misrule of Bihar Government which eventually turned against the large scale corruption by Indira Gandhi regime. Similar kind of movement started in 2011 against large scale corruption by none other than Congress regime but this time in the favour of Jan Lokpal Bill. Outcome of both the revolutions is different; JP Movement defeated Congress and gave power to Janata Party (Umbrella of various anti-Indira parties) but Indian Against Corruption (IAC) Movement resulted in formation of AAP under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal. IAC Movement started by Anna Hazare under the patronage of various apolitical leaders like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Baba Ram Dev, which eventually shaped into a political party by Kejriwal himself.
After the announcement of Delhi poll every party started preparing for election; in the meantime BJP declared Kiran Bedi as its CM candidate for upcoming Delhi Election. Disgruntled with her CM candidature, AAP started to show its true colour; a party which maintained its ground on women empowerment seems to fall in its own trap. AAP went to the extent that they fabricated the stories that “Kiran Bedi” is not the first IPS officer. Though, AAP talks about women empowerment but they attacked Bedi’s personal life even before she was announced as the candidate for CM just because she criticised AAP and its supremo Arvind Kejriwal? This clearly shows the level of high moral of AAP. It is ironical that they talk about respecting women and staying away from mud-slinging. AAP funding mystery deepens when AVAM the breakaway faction of AAP brought issue of 2 crore funding in front of media; though media asked “Why did AVAM keep quiet all this while? To which AVAM replied that “We've been screaming for a year. You heard us today.”
The issue of AAP’s transparent funding deepens more when they withdraw the donation list from their website; it was nothing but the last nail in their “High Moral” coffin. It has been alleged that AAP receiving high donation from middle-eastern region.
Another issue which clearly decimates AAP holier than holy stand is their alliance with anti-national elements. It has been reported that Aam Aadmi Party's Okhla candidate supported Indian Mujahideen operative; when Seva Medal awardee Surendra Poonia came to know about this he immediately resigned from the party and also brought issue to the public notice. Though, this is not new their supreme leader Arvind found support anti-national elements when he said that Batla House encounter is faked.
If we observe carefully than we can connect the dots; AAP published the list of its donors on the website, however on scrutiny, it has been found that donation amount of individual is very small (though we must to appreciate that effort of individual donors) but with such small amount election expense will never meet. This publicity stunt came to an end when Karan Singh and Gopal Goel of AVAM alleged that four donations worth Rs 50 lakh each were remitted to the account of AAP from four different “dubious companies”. Though AAP in Arvind style can say that “Sab Mile Hue Hain Ji” but not to forget Karan Singh once the close aid of Kejriwal whom he himself appointed as the chief public grievance redressal officer of the Delhi Government.
Gimmicks or Electoral Reforms?
AAP screams we are here to reform politics; but how none of their leader stated in any manner in public. India need the electoral reforms which include political funding and role of media during elections. First of all let us check the rules regarding political funding process in India which are often violated in India.
The rules established by “The Companies Act, 2013” prohibit government sector companies to fund any political party in any manner whatsoever it may be; most importantly it laid down the rule that corporate houses must reveal identity to whom they have donated.
Large section of Business community in India urged the government to change the section 182(3) of the new companies’ act that requires business houses to reveal names of political parties in their P&L account. The registered political parties in India can accept volunteer donation from Indian companies under the section 29B of the Representation of the People Act, 1951; however donation more than Rs. 20,000 required to be declared by the party to ECI.
The Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA) prohibits the political parties to receive funds from any foreign companies or subsidiary operating in India. Though we have multiple laws to curb the wrong funding in India but these rules often exploited by political parties; political parties like AAP, BSP etc accepting donation less than Rs 20,000 or at best Rs 19,999; so that these parties don’t need to disclose the name of the donor.
What model to adopt?
In order to reforms the electoral politics in we must look into existing models adopted worldwide; for example USA set up a body under the Federal Election Campaign Act 1974 which created an enforcement agency FEC (Federal Election Commission). FEC supervises all financial transactions by political parties. It verifies all reported statements, checks the same and discloses the same with analysis to the public. A debate should be triggered whether ECI should be empowered with like FEC or any other system should be created to curb the funding.
Role of Media
Analysis shows that media heavily influence the election in India it may be through their inaccurate their opinion polls or it may be through special coverage to candidate. Pratyaya author at http://pratyaya.nationalinterest.in/ concluded in his article titled “Opinionated polls of India: Why opinion polls in India should not be taken seriously.”
So along with Political funding another important pillar of democracy should be made accountable for the voters of our country. In the past media used as tool or media with
vested interest supported a particular ideology.
Reforms are the need of the hour not the gimmick, though AAP started with one agenda to reforms but end up having another system looking to violate the law. Nothing substantial has been debate by parties to reforms electoral system.
Hitesh Rangra (The writer is a political commentator and social media activist)