This year where most of the opposition parties saw a decline in their funds, the donations into BJP’s bank account got a huge jump of 75%
S Gopal Puri
As per the Election Commission which has represented a new audit report, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has again gotten the most out of the electoral bonds. According to the information revealed by a TV channel, in the fiscal year 2019-20, the State bank of India sold a total of Rs 3,355 crore electoral bonds. Among the receivers of the fund, the BJP party got the highest percentage of the money donated through the electoral bonds.
According to the data revealed, the income of the BJP party through electoral bonds was Rs2550 crore, which is about 76% of the entire fund. In the second spot, the Congress party received a total of Rs318 crores.
Moreover, Banerjee’s Trinamool congress received Rs100 crores, the Nationalist Congress party collected a total of Rs29.25 crores, Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal Rs2.5 crores, Shiv Sena Rs41 crores, the DMK Rs45 crores, and Aam Aadmi Party collected donations of Rs18 crores.
This year where most of the opposition parties saw a decline in their funds, the donations into BJP’s bank account got a huge jump of 75%. Previously in 2017-18, the saffron party got donations of Rs1,450 crores, which increased to Rs2550 crore in 2020.
Electoral bonds are securities that are used to fund a particular political party. These are promissory notes available at the branches of the State bank of India. Any individual can buy these bonds from specific branches of SBI and donate to political parties without revealing their identity.
BJP party introduced the Electoral Bonds Scheme back in 2017 through a finance bill, which the SBI started to issue from 1st April 2018. The primary goal of this scheme was to fight the flow of black money. As per the rules of the scheme, no party can receive funds or donations directly. Instead, every individual or company has to send their donations through the electoral bonds bought from SBI branches.
According to the government, the scheme will help fight the flow and use of black money by the political parties. In the presence of these bonds now, every political party will get donations through proper channels without any fraud. However, without these bonds, every party could get the donations directly in cash becoming a good source of black money.
One of the most common sources of donations is the wealthy individuals who pay millions of rupees to the party. And in exchange, the party gives them tickets for elections or supports them in political and governmental matters.
The criticism over the scheme and recent fraud allegations.
Where the Electoral Bond Scheme (EBS) got full support from BJP, many national institutions and political parties including the Reserve Bank of India, Election Commission, and Congress have severe concerns over the scheme.
According to critics, the scheme might have stopped the flow of black money, but it has opened a wide door to money Laundering. According to officials of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), this scheme has practically legalized money laundering. Under this scheme, now, anyone can easily launder their black money to foreign countries through third parties.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition, alleges that the biggest concern over the scheme is the anonymity of the donor. Only the State bank has the information of the contributors, and it is under the influence of the central government, meaning BJP.
In this situation where every year the donations received by the BJP incredibly increase and the opposition’s decreases. Why would they want to reveal the names of those people and corporations, who donate this amount of money to the party?
Furthermore, according to the recent analysis of donations by ADR a non-profit organization, there are clear indications of fraud in the Rs2,550 crores money donated solely to BJP. The authorities couldn’t trace a large portion of that money received by the BJP through 2019-20 electoral bonds.
Last year in March also the Association of Democratic Reforms, found that 67% of the money donated to the political parties through electoral bonds were from “Unknown Sources”.
After the release of the recent data, the Election Commission and Reserve Bank of India have once again expressed their concerns over the continuation of Electoral bonds. ADR has also filed a petition against the electoral bonds in the Supreme court, which is still pending.