Two days after demitting the office of Chief Election Commissioner, OP Rawat has said that demonetisation didn’t help in checking misuse of black money in polls as it was expected to do. In the same breath, he said that some states reported more seizures compared to previous years.
“After demonestisation it was thought that misuse of money during election will be brought down. But it couldn't be proved on basis of the data of the seizures. Compared to previous elections, there were more seizures in the same states,” Mr. Rawat said.
When OP Rawat was recently asked if demonetisation had any effect on black money during election season, he replied: "Absolutely nothing".
“It seems political class and their financiers have no dearth of money. Money used in this manner, is generally black money. As far as black money used in election is concerned, there was no check on it,” he reportedly added.
Rawat, who has been succeeded by Sunil Arora, had said before demitting office that a plan to cap expenditure on election campaigning would see "the light of day in time to come".
Rawat had said his "only regret" as head of the poll panel was that the EC was unable to recommend to the Law Ministry a fresh "legal framework" in tune with the changing times vis-a-vis the use of money and social media.
"... all political party meeting in August (this year) had recommended that there should be a ceiling on party expenditure and commensurately there should be transparency in funding. I think it will see the light of day in time to come," he said.
The election watchdog has been pushing for greater transparency in election-related expenditure by parties and candidates.
President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Sunil Arora as the new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), replacing the OP Rawat. Mr. Arora will take charge of the office on December 2, 2018. Mr. Arora was previously brought in as the Election Commissioner in September last year to fill the vacancy created by former CEC Nasim Zaidi’s retirement.
"The Election Commission of India (ECI) has begun preparations for the coming Lok Sabha elections next year, which we are committed to conducting in a free and fair manner," Sunil Arora had said after taking charge.
"Our first and foremost priority is to give the country fair, credible, free, impartial and ethical elections," said Sunil Arora, while addressing the media persons at Nirvachan Sadan, the headquarters of ECI.
(With inputs from ANI)