Chief Justice of India saying political parties should be made accountable for not fulfilling promises made in manifestos point to the need for undertaking electoral reforms at the earliest. Political corruption is the biggest malady any country face howsoever one may swear allegiance by a religious book or the constitution of the country and money power has been a major player in politics and buying of votes or candidates too goes well with the rules of the game. In the recent assembly elections in five states and before that in the 2014 general election the role of money power and violations of the poll expenditure limit cannot be denied. It is for the Election Commission to decide when evidence is sufficient to warrant action. The seizure of large amount of cash during the assembly elections belie the truth that demonistaisation has been able to root-out the role of black money in electioneering. Politics apart, regulating poll spending and making political funding transparent are two items that have remained for long on the Election Commission table. Justice Dipak Misra of the Supreme Court has rightly stressed that “purchasing power has no room in elections” and a candidate must bear in mind that “contesting elections is not an investment”. Even though former Chief Justice JS Khehar’s observation that manifestos have become “pieces of paper” is close to reality, it would be difficult to force political parties, legally or constitutionally, to implement manifesto promises. It may be hard to compel the Modi government to implement the BJP promise to farmers on the Swaminathan Commission or the more popular one on black money stashed abroad. Law can’t stop politicians from making promises or voters getting swayed by political rhetoric but corruption especially the ‘purchasing power’ can be checked so that the much wanted transparency in the political system can be ushered in.
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