Monday, July 26, 2021
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All Huff and No Puff: Huffington Post contradicts itself on Electoral Bonds, simply to vilify the government it so hates

The heart-burn evident in the allegation that 95% of the Electoral Bonds have been donated to the ruling party cannot be a basis to say that the ruling party is corrupt.

Huffington Post is huffing in desperation, yet again, this time, over Electoral Bonds. How come India as a country has found a government that it loves? This is troubling this publication too hard. Desperation is so deep that it keeps contradicting itself in mindless vilification. It seems there is so much hurry that its editorial team does not even cross-check what it wrote itself on the same topic already.

On one hand, it has claimed that anonymity accorded upon any political donor or a donee political party via the Electoral Bonds in India is going to facilitate a rush of black money into the election funding of India to an extent that it can destabilize our currency and economy.

Huffpost article

On the other hand, it is ranting that there is no anonymity in these Electoral Bonds because the issuing agency, the State Bank of India knows who bought the bonds and who encashed them eventually.

Huffington Post article

Will Huffington Post ever have the gall to question why the Church offers anonymity to any believer of Christianity to go and pour their heart out at the confession box? Will Huffington Post ever have the courage to speculate if the clergy ensconced within the privacy behind the confession box can take undue advantage at a personal level by knowing the darkest secrets of those coming by to undertake confessions in belief? No, it will never dare to question such things for there is a strong faith and belief in the practitioners of Christianity who trust their church. But the same Huffington Post is challenging the faith and trust the people of India have in their Government.

So, Huffington Post heads you win & tails is India’s loss? If horses had wings they surely could fly. But horses don’t have wings. Someone must make Huffington Post realize this basic.

Anonymity is not immunity from law & morals. No facilitation of privacy can ever become a contract between any state and its people that provides immunity from existing laws. This is a basic denominator in all governance, jurisprudence & social value systems.

Will Huffington Post or for that matter any global or local institution ever be able to argue in a court of law in India or in any country, assume for a moment if any of their people are facing trial for treason, that the investigative agencies have violated the right to privacy by tapping phone calls to gather evidence? It won’t be able to do so. Then why rant about that State Bank of India maintains records of who bought the Electoral Bonds? Come on, do you wish to say that State Bank of India should write in its books of accounts someone whose name should not be disclosed bought the electoral bonds and it should also note that other someone encashed the bonds when they come back for redemption? What Utopia are you living in Huffington Post?

If your Utopia exists Huffington Post then you must go and question the church that the clergy behind the confession box should undergo a memory erasure therapy after each session of confession and that a confession box should have a digital device to scan and inform the person doing confession that there is no voice recording or evidence gathering digital device. But you will not question the trust people have in the institution of the church. Fair enough. Same way when people have trust in their democracy you should have the grace to not question it.

Read: Piyush Goyal slams Congress over its allegations on electoral bonds: Here is how new system is better than the old one

If abuse of this trust shall be made either at the church or at the democracy concerned, there will be a resolution. There will be grievance redressal if grievance arises. Huffington Post, your desperation is deeply soaked in paranoia, therefore!

If the issue at all is that the Election Commission, that is another arm of the state erected independently to serve the people of India, feels it must know the details of the donor, it can within the framework of the governance make a case for being allowed to do so & the process of legislation can take care of it. But then, you will come back and sneeze again that not only the State Bank of India but now even the Election Commission of India has breached the anonymity!

Its an act of utter shamelessness and not a mere disgrace to say that the Government in power will abuse the institutions of the Chief Election Commissioner or the State Bank of India to lay traps on citizens who choose to donate with privacy to the election process.

If such an allegation is not shameless then one would be able to say that the Government will abuse the police, the intelligence, the military to subvert the rights of its own people. You need to realize Huffington Post that India is today a vibrant democracy, the world’s largest democracy that is functional and fully functional. You need to realize that India today is not a colony of some imperialist masters any more who could exploit its people without any accountability or mechanisms for redressal of grievances.

Whether Modi Sarkar or any other Sarkar in the future tinkers with, toys with or breaches the rights of its citizens we have a fully functional redressal mechanism through our Courts of Law. So, thank you for your paranoia but no thank you since in your agenda you have lost even common-sense Huffington post.

Read: Electoral Bonds: Fast gaining steam as an innovative instrument created keeping Indian circumstances in mind

Anyone indulgent in mindless sloganeering that there has been a scam with Electoral Bonds have some grace as agents of our democracy. You should build out a case with facts & points of law and approach a court of law seeking application of law and seeking justice if there is any scam. The real scam is that even after being routed by the people of India to permanent oblivion some political parties have accumulated so much fat over seven decades that they are maintaining well-greased machinery of deception, deceit and distraction. Imported Supari Journalism is now being served without realizing that Indians are no longer enchanted to lap up everything imported since Make in India is the real ethos of our people.

To try and wreck up a sense of paranoia within the minds of the people of India it has been argued that there was a hurry and rush in legislating the Electoral Bonds. Why are you failing to realize Huffington Post that in this New India our Government undertakes its business as seriously as any men in Business would undertake and this is our usual speed of achievements now! A Government that works with speed is a Government that must be doing something wrong is an idea that is at best an appeal to emotions and not an appeal to reason. At its worst such a thinking is a reflection of minds that are still living in the lost glories of fiefdoms of corruption.

If additional windows for issuances of bonds have been provided it is not a conspiracy to benefit any specific political party, but only facilitation since a country as big as a continent with as diverse weathers, demography and terrain must undertake its elections at dates that must respect all local logistics. The only beneficiary with such a conspiracy is the electoral system where more probity is facilitated, not just anyone specific political party. At most a polite editorial pointing to a suggestion that the Electoral Bond legislation may be made crisper and tighter by incorporating suitable amendments to allow additional windows of Electoral Bond Issuances to be made or even allowing for throughout the year issuances be facilitated. Don’t even try to tell us that these bonds will become a vehicle for storage of unaccounted wealth and become freely traded instruments of dark choices since their shelf life is only fifteen days. Within fifteen days of issuance, an Electoral Bond must be deposited by a political party in its bank accounts for converting into formal currency.

Haven’t you read in the very popular novel Da Vinci Code allusions to permanent bearer bonds issued by the Vatican being the favourite choice of the global Mafiosi & every clandestine operator and agent on the periphery of every state for seeking total anonymity for paying or being paid for a crime? Well, India hasn’t chosen such bonds that can be utilized for any purpose except for making donations to a political party and the process of donation and its encashment via these bonds must be completed within fifteen days.

The rant about the undoing of the limit of 7.5% of prior three years profits for corporate donors to election campaigns or political parties is a hollow one too. Firstly, it’s a separate issue & this undoing of the limit could have been done even without bringing about Election Bonds. Secondly, this independent idea of removing this limit along with the Election Bonds is simply an element of the rapidly rising ease of doing business in India. If any company will pay from even a loss-making balance sheet, it doesn’t add up to your paranoia that black money will enter more easily into politics. It will be accounted for money.

The heart-burn evident in the allegation that 95% of the Electoral Bonds have been donated to the ruling party cannot be a basis to say that the ruling party is corrupt. On the contrary, any political party that accepts more donations via the Electoral Bonds is having to account for a larger amount of expenses it makes from this white money since all Electoral Bonds provide white money to every political party that will accept them. With white money coming either via cheques, wire transfers or through Electoral Bonds it becomes far tougher to pay for country liquor, unlicensed arms, nautch girls at election rallies and pay cash bribes to the electorate.

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Sushil KediaGrad.CWA, PGDBM, MSc (Fin Eng.), CMT, CFTe, CAIA, FRM He worked across 25 years, with national & global Investment Banks & two large hedge funds. He was the first Asian to serve on the Board of Directors of the Market Technicians Association, Inc. (2011-2014). Sushil has presented, over the years, at key global markets’ conferences around the globe. His commentaries have been solicited by major national financial media regularly & a few key global publications as Barron’s too. Now he has founded KEDIANOMICS – a research firm focusing on financial markets, risk management & trading. He lives in Mumbai & is fluent with Bangla, Gujarati & Marathi apart from Hindi & English.  Reading, writing, swimming, learning coding & an occasional string at his old sitar fill up any few & rare free gaps in his 80-hour working week. He spends most Sundays with scholars of the Bhagawad Geeta.

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