Political parties making election promises should give details of how they plan to finance them, the Election Commission has said, suggesting new rules to make parties more accountable for what they promise voters.
The Election Commission has written to political parties on its plan to ask for details of the financial implications of promises made in their election manifesto and ways and means to finance them. The parties are to respond by October 19 to the proposed changes.
"The trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled," the Election Commission says in its letter.
Empty election promises have far-reaching ramifications, it adds.
"While the Commission agrees in principle with the point of view that framing of manifestos is the right of political parties, it cannot overlook the undesirable impact of some of the promises and offers on the conduct of free and fair elections and maintaining a level playing field for all political parties and candidates," says the powerful election body.
Though the poll code of conduct does require political parties and candidates to defend their promises and also detail how they plan to finance them, the declarations are "quite routine, ambiguous and do not provide adequate information to voters to exercise their informed choice in an election."
The parties have to give details like the "extent and expanse" of people expected to benefit from their promises, the financial implications, availability of finances, the ways and means of raising resources add impact on fiscal sustainability of the state or union government.
If there is no response from the parties, "it will be presumed that the party has nothing specific to say" on the subject, says the election body.