Kolkata, March 5 IANS | 5 months ago

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday contended the union cabinet's decision to increase the poll campaign expenditure limit for candidates will encourage corruption and called for state funding of elections.


"There is so much talk about black money and corruption, then why this move to increase the expenditure? I don't know if it's an attempt to legitimise black money, it's unfortunate," Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chairperson, told media persons here.

"There are some who are indulging in corruption and using black money in elections. That's why I have been fighting for state funding of elections. If countries like US, Britain, Austria, Japan can have state funding for elections why can't we," she asked.

The union cabinet Friday raised expenditure limits for Lok Sabha elections to a maximum of Rs.70 lakh and a minimum of Rs.54 lakh, allowing candidates to spend more on their poll campaigns.

Banerjee also hit out at the Congress led UPA over the Telangana issue.

"We don't support any kind of divide and rule policy. We are for united India. If somebody feels there is need to increase a district of a state, the state government needs to be consulted. People cannot take unilateral decision. One has been given the power to govern and not break and destroy the country," she said.

The Trinamool chief said the party was in talks with social activist Anna Hazare to finalise its manifesto.

While she asserted that Trinamool will be the third-largest party, Banerjee refused to talk about the party's plans regarding post-poll alliances.

Banerjee, who will be addressing a joint rally with Hazare in Delhi, said she would be holding public meetings in several parts of the country including in Ahmedabad.

(Posted on 05-03-2014)