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‘Electoral Bonds in a true sense have imparted a greater sense of transparency in political funding’: PM Modi in the ANI interview

In an interview with ANI, PM Modi said the electoral bonds scheme was aimed at curbing black money in elections and said the opposition wants to run away after making allegations.   

In his exclusive interview with ANI, PM Modi reiterated that the electoral bonds in a true sense have imparted a greater sense of transparency in political funding and ensured that political parties stopped receiving through unaccounted cash transactions.

Noting that he had never said that a decision taken cannot have a shortcoming, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accused the opposition parties of “spreading lies” over the electoral bonds scheme, which has been struck down by the Supreme Court, and said, “everyone will regret it when there is an honest reflection”.

In an interview with ANI, PM Modi said the electoral bonds scheme was aimed at curbing black money in elections and said the opposition wants to run away after making allegations.   

He said of the 16 companies who gave donations when action was taken by probe agencies, only 37 per cent of the amount went to the BJP and 63 per cent to opposition parties opposed to the BJP.

The Prime Minister said the country has been pushed towards “black money” in elections and everyone will regret it.   

In his first detailed reaction to the electoral bonds scheme, PM Modi, who has been on a hectic campaign for the Lok Sabha polls, said the scheme should also be viewed as a success story as it has allowed the trail to show who had made contributions to political parties through the scheme. He also said there is a lot scope of for improvement in the scheme.  

“There has been a discussion in our country for a long time that (through) black money a dangerous game is there in elections. The play of black money in the country’s elections ends, this discussion has been going on for a long time. Money is spent in elections; no one can deny this. My party also spends, all parties, and candidates spend and money has to be taken from people. I wanted we try something, how can our elections be free from this black money, how can there be transparency? There was a pure thought in my mind. We were looking for a way. We found a small way, we never claimed that this was the absolute way,” he said.

He said there was debate in Parliament on the electoral bonds scheme when the relevant bill was passed and some of those who are now commenting on it had supported it.

He referred to the government’s decision to disband Rs 1000 and Rs 2000 denomination currency notes as part of its efforts to tackle black money. “These notes were moved in large quantities during the elections. We took the step so that black money ends,” PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister said political parties were earlier allowed cash donations up to Rs 20,000 and he changed it to Rs 2500 as he did not want “this cash business” to go on.

He said BJP had earlier decided to take all political donations by cheques but business people came and said they could not pay through this mode as the government would get to know how much they had contributed to a political party and would “trouble them”. He said the businessmen conveyed that they are ready to give donations but not through cheques.

“I remember in the nineties, BJP faced a lot of problems; there was no money as we had this rule. Those wanting to give did not dare to do so…I was aware of all this…. now see if there was no electoral bond, which system has the power to find out how the money came and where it went,” he said. 

“This is the success story of electoral bonds, there were electoral bonds, so you are getting a trail which company gave, how it gave, where it gave. Whether what happened in the process was good or bad can be an issue of debate.… I never say that there is no shortcoming in decision-making. We learn after discussing and improving. There is a lot of scope for improvement in this also. But today we have completely pushed the country towards black money, hence I say everyone will regret it. When they will think honestly, everyone will regret it,” he said.

PM Modi also attacked the opposition for spreading lies over electoral bonds and said of the 3,000 companies that gave donations through the scheme, 26 faced action by probe agencies such as ED.

He said of these 26 companies, there were 16 who took electoral bonds when they faced action.

“Of these (16 companies) 37 per cent of the amount went to BJP and 63 per cent to opposition parties opposed to BJP.

“There is an ED raid… the work of donating to the opposition, will BJP do this? This means 63 per cent of this amount went to the opposition and you are making allegations against us. Their goal is to keep skirting around and run away,” he said.  

The Supreme Court in February this year struck down the electoral bonds scheme and said it was unconstitutional.

INDIA Bloc parties have been targeting the BJP-led government over the electoral bonds scheme in their election campaign.

In its decision, the Supreme Court asked the SBI to stop issuing electoral bonds.

In compliance with a directive from the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of India (ECI) uploaded data on electoral bonds on its official website. The data was provided by the State Bank of India (SBI) on the directions of the apex court.

(With inputs from ANI)

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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