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TMC-97%, DMK-86%: Opposition parties welcome SC judgement striking down electoral bond scheme, the same parties getting almost all of their donations through it

For several parties like TMC, DMK, BJD, BRS etc, almost all of the donations received by them came through electoral bonds in the year 2022-23.

In a major decision, the Supreme Court of India on 15th February struck down the electoral bonds scheme saying that it violates Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution and the Right to Information Act. Ruling the scheme as unconstitutional, the court said that the objective of curbing black money in politics can’t justify the scheme where the identity of donors to the political parties are kept confidential.

Notably, opposition parties have been opposing the electoral bond scheme, alleging that BJP is the biggest beneficiary of the scheme as it favours them. Several opposition leaders today welcomed the Supreme Court verdict.

TMC leader Sushmita Dev tweeted, “Heard many BJP people bragging that electoral bonds was one of the biggest reforms by NDA government. Now what!”

TMC MP Saket Gokhale called it “the most HISTORIC judgment & intervention in the last 5 years” by the Supreme Court.

DMK chief and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin said that Supreme Court has rightly held that the #ElectoralBonds are unconstitutional.

He added, “This will ensure transparent electoral process and the integrity of the system. This judgement has restored the #democracy and level playing field for all political parties. It has also ensured the common man’s faith in the system.”

The Congress party has also called it a historic verdict, with Randeep Surjewala alleging that it was BJP’s ‘black money conversion scheme’

Jairam Ramesh said that the electoral bond scheme was illegal and unconstitutional, welcoming the judgement.

While the opposition parties are welcoming the judgement and terming the scheme illegal and unconstitutional, the same parties are also some of the biggest beneficiaries of the scheme. In fact, for some parties, almost all donations came through the electoral bond scheme.

As per the latest audited financial reports for the year 2022-23 of national and regional parties submitted with the Election Commission, while BJP received far more amount through the scheme then the others, for many parties the share of the scheme in income was very high, nearing 100%.

In terms of the share of the scheme in total income, the biggest beneficiary of the scheme was Trinamool Congress. In FY 2022-23, the party’s income was ₹333.45 crore, out of which ₹315.10 crore came from electoral bonds only, a whopping 97.49%.

The next was another opposition party DMK, which received ₹185 crore in bonds, out of ₹214.35 crore total income. The ruling party in Tamil Nadu received 86.31% of its income from electoral bonds alone. BJD, the ruling party in Odisha, received ₹152 crore in bonds, which is 83.95% of the total income of ₹181.05 crore.

Similarly, the share of electoral bonds in total income for BRS was 71.7%, it was 69.53% for YSRCP, the ruling parties in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The share of electoral bonds in the total income for BJP was 54.82%, which means while BJP received almost of half of its income from other sources, the share was much higher for regional non-NDA parties. AAP and TDP had shares similar to BJP, at 53% each. However, AAP’s share is not confirmed, as the party didn’t disclose the figure for electoral bonds. Instead, the party gave a combined figure of Electoral Bonds and Electoral Trust.

The Congress party received ₹171 crore from the scheme, which is 37.8% of its total income 452.38 crore. Some major parties like SP, CPI and CPI-M didn’t receive any donation under the electoral bond scheme in the year 2022-23.

This is not the first time for the opposition parties to receive majority of their donations using bonds, the trend is going on for last several years. A report on analysis of sources of funding of national parties in 2021-22, prepared by Association of Democratic Reforms, show that TMC led the chart in that year also, with 96.77% share of electoral bonds in total receipts. The share for the party has gone up to 97.49% this year.

However, in monetary terms, BJP remains the biggest beneficiary, with a total receipt of ₹1,294.15 crore through electoral bonds in the year 2022-23. BRS was second highest recipient with ₹529 crore. TMC and DMK were third and fourth positions. As the total amount of electoral bond sold for the year 2022-23 is not known, the share of parties in the scheme is known for the year. But reports have emerged on total amounts since the launch of the scheme.

As per reports, since the launch of the scheme in 2018, bonds worth around ₹16,000 crore were sold by the State Bank of India. BJP’s share in it was around 55% or approximately ₹6,565 crore. Congress received around 1,123.3 crore, or around 7%. TMC received around ₹1,101.33 crore, around 7%.

Therefore, while opposition parties like TMC and DMK are welcoming the SC verdict striking down the electoral bond scheme, the same parties are major beneficiaries of the scheme. In fact, they received most of their donations through bonds only, which was as high as 97.49% for TMC and 86.31% for DMK.

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Raju Das
Raju Das
Corporate Dropout, Freelance Translator

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