How should companies fund politicians? Here’s a formulaApril 4th, 2009 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS
By Devirupa Mitra
New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) Now that most large political parties have released their poll manifestos, Robinder Sachdev is busy analysing them, not to cast his vote, but to advise corporate houses on which party they should fund, to what extent, and what the chances of various parties are.
The 44-year-old communications expert, who runs the city-based think tank The Imagindia Institute, says his team’s mission is to help corporate houses, targets of political parties for election funding.
“We are working on a political funding model, which will help the corporate houses determine how much should be paid to the various political parties,” Sachdev told IANS.
India goes to the polls in five phases from April 16 to May 13 to elect its next government.
It is a busy time for Sachdev and his colleagues as they analyse the positions of different parties on economic issues like privatisation, foreign investment and labour reforms.
If a company matches that with details like the location of its key projects, core business interests and headquarters, it will automatically generate a graded result on how much money should go to which political party, Sachdev said.
“If a firm has a certain budget for political donations, we believe that 25 percent should be allocated for the parties in the state where it has corporate headquarters and another 25 percent to the states where it has the main growth business,” he said.
The rest should go to those political parties whose manifestos are more reliable and have promises for the corporate sector, Sachdev added.
The money allocated for the state that houses a company’s corporate headquarters could further be divided between the ruling party and the opposition.
“We have made case studies for Reliance Industries and Tata Sons, which should logically give 50-50 donations to the Congress and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party),” said Sachdev.
The two companies have key business interests in Gujarat, a BJP-ruled state where Reliance has a refinery and Tata Sons unit Tata Motors will manufacture the small car Nano.
However, both Reliance and Tata are headquartered in Mumbai, capital of Maharashtra - a Congress-ruled state. “So a hedging strategy is called for; they will, or should, contribute equally to both parties.”
Sachdev said his concept would be sent to all major corporate houses shortly.
“So far, there was no transparency in the whole process. We are just trying to create awareness that this is also part of the process of cleaning up the electoral system.”
Sachdev admits he is “a little behind schedule” in his project but attributed it to political parties delaying the releasing of manifestos.
(Devirupa Mitra can be contacted at email@example.com)
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