West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday suggested that black money stashed away abroad be brought back to the country for state funding of elections.
"This money should be brought back and can be utilised for state funding of elections," Banerjee told a seminar on 'Accountability to Parliament and Legislature' at the platinum jubilee celebrations of the West Bengal assembly.
The chief minister also urged the Centre to consult state governments for ensuring electoral reforms for state funding of elections.
"The democratic system is in peril due to prevalence of black money, muscle power and money power influencing the electoral process. Elections should be state funded to combat use of black money," Banerjee said.
"Politicians are purchased. A few rotten individuals are vitiating the system through the use of black money. It is reprehensible that they will decide who will be nominated as president, vice-president and governors. Can we accept this?" Banerjee asked without identifying anyone.
"Where has democracy has been pushed to? In the name of democracy, what is going on is shocking," the Trinamool Congress chief said alleging that crores of rupees were used during elections and declared she would contest elections through state funding.
She said that money power was less evidenced in West Bengal during elections compared to other states.
"I have heard that votes are purchased in North-Eastern states. The situation in Tamil Nadu is alarming where a candidate spends Rs 20 crore to win Lok Sabha elections," she said, adding that many good people were reluctant to join politics because of corruption.
She also that 75 per cent of the state's revenue was taken away by the Centre. "In this perspective, I would like to know why states are not given funds to conduct elections."