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Yechury Counters Jaitley, Says Electoral Bond Scheme Not Transparent

Yechury Counters Jaitley, Says Electoral Bond Scheme Not Transparent

New Delhi : Questioning Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's claim that the electoral bond scheme would bring in transparency in election funding, CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury today said it would rather make the funding more opaque.

''It is an anti-democratic move,'' Mr Yechury said  responding to  Mr Jaitley's views on the issue posted on his Facebook page two days back. If this system was adopted, nobody would know who was buying and who was redeeming the bond, and it would be like legalising money laundering, he said in an interaction with member of the Indian Women's Press Corps here.

The political parties which depend on people's collection of funds would find it very difficult to finance their electoral expenses, he said. The CPI(M) leader said he had written a letter to the Finance accepting his  invitation to join debate  on the electoral bond scheme.

Mr Yechury was of the view that if the Government was really serious about cleansing the system, it should first ban corporate funding of elections and put a ceiling on the expenditure of political parties, as today there was a ceiling only on the candidate's expenditure.

He wanted the government to bring  in a legislation to address the issue in a comprehensive manner.

In his Sunday's Facebook post, Mr Jaitley had said that electoral bond scheme was a substantial improvement in transparency over the present system of political funding,  and the government was open to suggestions to further cleanse the system.

The CPI(M) Leader, who answered a range of questions during the interaction, condemned the government for denying permission to Gujarat dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to hold a rally in the capital today, and said that the government was trying to persecute dissent by all means and denial of permission was a political message.

Mr Yechury did not agree with a questioner that the adverse impact of the economic moves like the note ban and the GST did not have any electoral cost for the BJP as it won Gujarat despite that. He pointed out that the BJP lost both in terms of percentage and seats, and the marginal victory it secured was only due to the communal divide it created

''The BJP sought to dilute much of discontent over its bad economy through communal polarisation,'' he said.

On whether he saw any hope for Opposition unity and what would be its basis to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the CPIM) leader said  the basis of Opposition unity should be an alternative vision for India, alternative policies-- not only  economic, but encompassing social fabric of the country.

On a question about Mr Rahul Gandhi's succeeding his mother as Congress president, Mr Yechury,'' We will have to wait and see what will be his policies.''

Replying to a question on India's foreign policy under the Modi government, Mr Yechury said,'' I am really worried about it.'' he saw a definite shift in the foreign policy in which India had become a just a supplicant of the US's global strategic interest, which was wholly detrimental to India's interest.

He also criticised the Modi Government's ''flip flop'' on the Pakistan policy. ''At one time, you yourself go to Pakistan, and at other time you accuse Dr Manmohan Singh of conspiring with Pakistan, and also have your NSA and Pakistan NSA talking. This flip flop will not work,'' he said.

On the issue of Aadhar, he said he totally disagreed with the Government contention that the Aadhar was necessary for delivery of services to the people. ''it does not require complete surveillance of people . It's violation of personal liberty.''

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