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'Electoral Bonds Not To Affect Lok Sabha Polls'

By Business Standard Reporters
March 26, 2024 08:52 IST
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'Election funding needs a little more transparency.'

IMAGE: Students with their faces painted as part of an awareness campaign for first-generation voters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Chennai, March 19, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

The controversy surrounding electoral bonds will not influence voters, and therefore, will not affect the coming general elections, according to a dipstick survey of 10 CEOs by Business Standard.

The nationwide survey of CEOs found that all respondents believe that disclosing the names of political donors via electoral bonds will neither influence voters nor affect the results of the Lok Sabha elections.

Following an order from the Supreme Court, the State Bank of India submitted data on the donors and recipients of such bonds to the Election Commission of India.

This information was subsequently published on the Election Commission Web site.

Asked to rate the Narendra Modi government'S performance in its second inning, in terms of governance and development, on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst), the CEOs gave an average rating of 4.1.

The lowest rating was 3 (from one respondent), and the highest was 5 (from two respondents).

"The past five years have been challenging. However, when viewed against the backdrop of global growth, it's clear that we have performed well. Therefore, I would give it the highest rating of 5," said a top executive, who requested to remain anonymous.

As many as 30 per cent of respondents said that State funding of elections should be encouraged to prevent corporate/private donations, while a similar proportion disagreed; 40 per cent of respondents did not comment on State funding of elections.

"It should be mandatory for both parties and corporations to disclose (donations). The details should be clearly stated in companies' annual reports and submitted to the Election Commission of India by the parties," suggested a CEO.

Half of the respondents said they do not have a board-approved policy on political donations, while 40 per cent said they do.

"Election funding needs a little more transparency. We could learn from how donations are handled in the Western world," said the CEO of a consumer products company.

When asked about their wish list for the government over the next five years, the CEOs mentioned several measures, including the implementation of a national logistics policy, job creation through skill development programmes, and increased support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Reducing regulatory interference to ease business operations was also suggested as a priority for the next government.

"There needs to be a greater push towards local production. The rural economy is slowing down, so measures need to be taken to boost rural consumption," said another CEO.

A top executive said that Indian businesses are dependent on the country's GDP growth.

"We're pleased with the 7.5-8 per cent GDP growth in India, and we hope that growth will continue, regardless of which government is in power. The government's subsidies to the poor are also being converted into expenditure," said another CEO.

Asked about the most significant constituencies in their view, the CEOs said that seats from where the prime minister, former chief ministers, and senior Opposition party leaders are contesting will be important to watch.

Varanasi, Amethi, and Rae Bareli were cited as the most important constituencies, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek his third term from Varanasi and the other two are pocket boroughs of the Gandhi family (even as Sonia Gandhi who until recently was Rae Bareli MP has been elected to the Rajya Sabha and Rahul Gandhi lost the Amethi seat in 2019).

Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu were among the states to watch, according to the CEOs.

Dev Chatterjee, Sharleen D'Souza, Raghav Aggarwal, Ishita Dutt, Sohini Das and Shine Jacob contributed to this report.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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Business Standard Reporters
Source: source
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024