CPI(M) has strongly opposed the idea of bringing political parties under the ambit of RTI, expressing apprehensions that such a move would give an opportunity to government to “snoop and spy” and harass them.
Politburo member Brinda Karat told PTI on Sunday that the finances of her party are in public domain and accounts have been filed with Election Commission, and “we are very clearly transparent”.
But bringing under the RTI political parties which are neither government organisation, nor state-sponsored, would give the government an opportunity to look into their politics and to snoop and spy into their political processes, she said.
“We will never allow that. We are totally against it. Snooping and spying into political parties’ internal meetings ... snooping and spying is not part of democratic process,” Karat said.
“If my politburo is meeting and if somebody puts an RTI (asking) who said what ... what business is it anybody else’s or the government’s because the government can use this (information gathered under RTI) to harass political parties.
She said her party is for state-funding of elections.
“(But) State funding has to ensure it does not give advantage to political parties who also are entirely dependent on corporate funding such as the ruling party, and main opposition parties and others also. You can’t take from corporate and (also) take from the state. So, it has to be strictly state-funded,” she said.
Asked if cash donations to political parties should stop and it has to be only by way of cheque or electronic transfer, Karat said: “Our (CPI-M) base is a poor base ... base of workers ... it’s a base of peasants. We have door-to-door collections; we collect Rs five, Rs 10. Our squads are out to collect money from poor people who do not have bank accounts or cheques.”
She said her party has not discussed the idea of simultaneous polls to Parliament and state Assemblies, but added that the proposal is not feasible.