Union Minister Piyush Goyal, in a press conference today, has refuted the allegations made by the opposition parties regarding electoral bonds. The Congress party had earlier protested in the Parliament over the bonds and claimed that it was an elaborate scheme to enable money laundering and destroyed transparency in the funding of political parties.
Goyal said, “This is the same lobby that had made dubious and wrong charges on the Rafale deal and has been rejected by the people of India. The Supreme Court, too, quashed their false claims.” He asserted that “whatever money is used in election proceedings must come from the bank, through the KYC procedures, and can be issued by selected SBI branches so that the SBI can keep its track.” “Any person can donate money after buying bonds from the bank via his clean, hard-earned money. These people are agitated because they won’t get this money via corruption and the money will now be clean,” he added.
Goyal further stated, “People revolting against electoral bonds have grown used to black money and believe in its usage during elections. This is the alliance of the defeated and dejected corrupt politicians who do not want clean, tax-paid transparent money to fund elections.”
Highlighting the steps taken by the NDA government to check corruption in political funding, the Union Minister said, “Earlier, donations worth Rs 20,000 was allowed in cash. We changed that to Rs 2,000 so that only poor people could help political parties with cash. Honest and clean money has started to come in Indian politics since then.”
Minister Piyush Goyal stated, “Earlier, there was no record of where the money came from and where it went. The new system will now allow tax-payer’s money with KYC tags to buy bonds. These electoral bonds will remove the fear of banks in the minds of donors, who can now rightfully donate.”
“People can now donate money via tax-paid cheques. That clean and hard-earned money can now be used by any political party,” Piyush Goyal said before adding, “The electoral bonds can be en-cashed by qualified registered political parties in just one designated bank account so that the bonds cannot be used in any other way. It has a duration of only 15 days to ensure there’s no chance of misuse of the bond”.
He also mentioned the consultations between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Electoral Bonds. Minister Piyush Goyal said that between the passing of the Finance Bill on 31st March 2017 and the notification of the Electoral Bonds Scheme on 2nd January 2018, there were multiple interactions between the RBI and the government. In order to ensure there is no misuse of Electoral Bonds, only qualified registered parties can encash the bonds and within 15 days.
In the Parliament today, senior leaders of the Congress party had labelled electoral bonds as a ‘scam’. Shashi Tharoor said, “When electoral bonds were introduced, many of us had raised serious objections about how it could easily become a way for rich corporations and individuals to influence improperly political parties, particularly the ruling party.” Ghulam Nabi Azad claimed that the electoral bonds had resulted in money laundering, and its trail “leads straight to the PM’s office”. “The BJP govt is running 90 per cent of the business in this country with a few industrialists,” he said.
Randeep Surjewala had claimed, “The electoral bond scheme of the Narendra Modi government is a modus operandi to receive thousands of crores from big business houses through secret donations.” He stated, “The intrigue and the conspiracy have now indicted the prime minister himself. RTI documents now establish the role and indict none less than the prime minister himself.” “Their promise was to bring black money back from offshore accounts, but reverse if that is happening,” Surjewala added.
In a press conference in the Parliament premises, Manish Tiwari had labelled it a “threat to democracy”. He said, “Parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss the damage which these bonds are doing to our democracy.” “We are asking for a full-fledged discussion on electoral financing… political financing with electoral bonds being an integral part of that. We are specifically asking for a joint committee to look into the entire scheme of bearer electoral bonds,” he added. “Electoral bonds and their completely opaque nature is a fundamental threat to democracy. Democracy is a function of public trust,” stated Tiwari.
The Congress’ efforts to paint the Prime Minister as corrupt suffered a colossal defeat when the Supreme Court dismissed review petitions into its earlier verdict where it had declined to order a probe into the Rafale Deal. The Court said that the petitions filed by the Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan lacked merit. In the absence of any clear plan to corner the BJP government, the Congress party appears to have decided that electoral bonds will be the next big thing on the table. Meanwhile, its support for the hooligans of JNU continues unabated and the far-left ideology of the university has come to dominate the party.