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"Democracy thrives when elections are free, fair and transparent," O P Rawat

New Delhi: The Election Commission has stated that winning the elections at all cost, without ethics, is a new normal in politics.

"Democracy thrives when elections are free, fair and transparent. However, it appears to a cynical common man. We have been scripting narrative that places maximum premium on winning at all costs to the exclusion of ethical considerations. Winning the elections at all cost, without ethics, is new normal in politics," Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat said, while addressing the press conference.

He also stated that it is this creeping new normal of political morality that should be a target for the exemplary action by all the political parties, politicians, media and civil society organisations, and constitutional authorities.

"In this narrative, the poaching of legislators is extolled as smart political management strategic introduction of money for allurement, tough-minded use of state machinery for intimidation - all commended as resourcefulness. It is this creeping new normal of political morality that should be a target for the exemplary action by all the political parties, politicians, media and civil society organisations, constitutional authorities and all those having faith in developing quality for a better election," he said.

The elections watchdog's comments have come in the wake of the recent report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), according to which, the corporate houses donated a total of Rs. 956.77 crore to national parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16, making up 89 per cent of the total contribution from the known sources.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received the most corporate donations at more than Rs. 705 crore.

At least five political parties considered for the report were the BJP, Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM).

"Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, five national parties received a total of Rs. 1,070.68 crore via voluntary contributions above Rs. 20,000 out of which 89 per cent of Rs. 956.77 crore was from corporates/business houses," the ADR report said.

Every year, the national political parties are required to submit the details of donors who made donations of more than Rs. 20,000 in a financial year to the Election Commission (EC).

"Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, BJP's and INC's voluntary contributions above Rs. 20,000 from corporate/business houses was 92 per cent and 85 per cent, respectively," the report said.

However, the CPI and the CPM have the lowest share of corporate donations at 4 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was not considered for analysis in the report as the party has stated that it received no charitable contributions above Rs. 20,000 from any donor during the particular period.

Agencies

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