Odisha leaders favour more transparency in political system

Bhubaneswar, June 9 (IANS) Leaders across the political spectrum in Odisha called for more transparency in the country's political system at a convention held here Sunday.

The participants at the 9th state-level convention on electoral and political reforms, however, had mixed opinions on a draft bill on regulating functioning of political parties prepared by former chief justice of Supreme Court M.N. Venkatachaliah, said Ranjan Mohanty of Odisha Election Watch (OEW), which organised the event.

The Political Parties (Registration and Regulation of Affairs, etc) Act, 2011, draft bill prepared by the Centre for Standards in Public Life (CSPL) has provisions to regulate the constitution, functioning, funding, accounts and audit, and other affairs of political parties participating in elections.

"The existing laws covering regulation of political parties are already in place in the form of the Representation of People Act, 1951, and no new laws regulating functioning of political parties are needed," said Santosh Das, state secretariat member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

"Morally, we are accountable to the public. But this accountability cannot be forced through law," senior leader of Communist Party of India Ram Krushna Panda said.

"Until and unless we reform the election process, we cannot strengthen our democracy," said Ashok Sahu, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader while addressing the convention.

Shivananda Rai, Congress party's state unit vice president, said there should be more transparency in matters relating to fund collection and disposal by political parties.

"The political parties have been influenced by a larger moral degradation over time. In this context, they need to formulate and adhere to a higher moral order and ethics," Biju Janata Dal vice president and state's Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout said.

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