Bengaluru: Veteran politician and former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has called for a “complete and total” ban on corporate funding of polls, saying there is a need to end political corruption and cleanse the electoral system in the country.

The root of administrative corruption lies in political corruption, and the root of political corruption lies in electoral corruption, said Krishna, who has seen electoral politics from close quarters for over five decades.

“We first need to cleanse the electoral system. The process is going on here and there. There have been some reforms which are just in the initial stages”, the former Karnataka Chief Minister told PTI.

“But I am happy that there is no political corruption at the top in the Centre. There is not a single allegation of corruption or nepotism. The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) himself is absolutely and impeccably clean and honest. This is a very big positive development”, he said.

“Slowly, things will fall in its place. A situation will arise where people will choose candidates on the basis of the performance of the party in the government and in the opposition”, the former Maharashtra Governor said.

Krishna, who joined BJP over three years ago after more than 45 years’ association with the Congress, said electoral reforms need to pick up pace and we must think of bringing in public funding of elections and a complete and total ban on private funding, which means funding from corporate companies.

“It is a long way to go, but I am confident that we will have clean politics. If we have to see the emergence of clean politics, electoral reforms are a must.

Unless money power is eradicated, there cannot be clean politics. My emphasis is for the eradication of money power, which is the first step we have to take”, he said.

Secondly, appealing for votes on communal and caste basis during elections must become a penal offence, the 88-year-old leader added.

Asked if he thought there should be a retirement age for politicians, Krishna said politics is not a government job to fix retirement age.

With age comes maturity, knowledge and experience, the BJP leader said, adding, Morarji Desai became Prime Minister at the age of 81, and he did a fantastic job.

“Suppose, hypothetically speaking, if he (Desai) had retired at the age of 60 of 65, then the country would have been deprived of such a sagacious leadership”, Krishna said.

Atal Behari Vajpayee became Prime Minister at the age of 74, and he did a fantastic job. L K Advani became Home Minister at the age of 71 and he did a wonderful job, he said.

“But at the same time, it is also essential…that the youngsters must be given opportunity”.

There should be a blend of age and youth; maturity and initial starters. Elders should not be totally discarded, but their knowledge and experience must be utilised to groom the younger generation, Krishna said.

“It is like what we say in Kannada; ‘Old Roots and New Leaves”, he added.

Source: PTI