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Delhi’s Election Dilemma: Debate vs Mandate

by Aditya Bhaskara

Delhi assembly elections 2015

The voting day just three days far from now, politics in Delhi has suddenly become awkward and some parties are quite remote from addressing the real issues that impact the people. The article strives to join the missing pieces as the political arguments go trending on social media platforms.

Image Credit: Darryn van der Walt

A spate of accusations over the two crores of donations received by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rocked the political scene in the Indian capital for more than a day. From PM Narender Modi to finance minister Arun Jaitley to former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi to various other politicians, everyone tried to make a heads and tails of it without much factual accuracy. The incident was reported by Avam, an outfit formed by former party volunteers. In recent development Congress suspects what Avam did might just be a conniving move constructed by the BJP.

The immediate question amid all this is whether the parties have forgotten to address the real issues of the people of Delhi during the last part of the whole election campaign? All the political parties might like to remember that whenever the engagement of the public is more as an onlooker and less as a participant, the votes go further down.

As the political buzz on Twitter shifts toward the hashtag #DelhiFightClub, bringing to context a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), an independent electoral watchdog, would provide some vital insights about how clean the image of the national parties actually is. On December 15, last year ADR published a press release backed by its interesting report. In its memorandum to Special Investigation Team (SIT) chaired by Honorable Mr. Justice M B Shah, it requested for ‘strict regulation of political party funding and expenditure’. It argued that the check on the flow of black money cannot be complete unless the money used for electoral and political processes is thoroughly accounted for.

An analysis on the IT Returns filed by the National Parties shows a whopping 72.98 percent of total income came from undisclosed sources. Parties also tend to forget to file or delay their Election Expenditure statements. A simple and shrewd way to keep the sources unknown is to show the voluntary contribution as less than ₹ 20,000, which eliminates any legal obligation to disclose the details.

Most of the guidelines related to declaration of income and assets are ignored by the politicians and parties. Just about two years back, Congress and BJP were found guilty of accepting foreign donations as per the Delhi High court petition in WP(C) No. 131 of 2013; Association of Democratic Reforms & another vs. Union of India]. This revelation takes away a lot of credibility of the accusation made on AAP by the parties or politicians who themselves have to come clear.

Although there are just three days to the Delhi Assembly elections, the people have a lot to think about before they vote the candidates to power. A government is a liability to the people if chosen without much thought. Probably this time Delhi would get it right.

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