Scrap electoral bonds now, says CPI-M
The CPI-M has urged the Supreme Court to kill the electoral bonds, calling it a "diabolical scheme which legitimizes big corporate and illegal money funding to the ruling party".
An editorial in the CPI-M's "People's Democracy" said: "The electoral bonds scheme which came into effect in March 2018 is a brazen and opaque method to funnel corporate funds, kickbacks and black money into the ruling party's coffers."
It said that the bonds provide for anonymous donors giving unlimited amounts of money to a political party through designated accounts in the State Bank of India. Even foreign companies operating in India have been allowed to donate to political parties.
"Since the identity of the donor would be known to the SBI and through this State-owned bank to the government, the corporates and other big donors would prefer to give bonds to the ruling party than to an opposition party.
"Contrary to the argument of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that the scheme removes the fear of donors' names being made public, the knowledge of the donor's identity becoming known to the government ensures that bonds will be given mainly to the ruling party.
"The result was as expected. Up to November 2018, the BJP got 95 per cent of the electoral bonds issued."
The editorial said that Jaitley's other argument that political funding was now coming through legitimate channels was also disproved by the fact that vast amounts of money in cash was being deployed for these elections.
"Up to April 1, over Rs 1,400 crore in cash was seized by the Election Commission authorities and this is only a fraction of the black money flowing into the elections."
The CPI-M said the Supreme Court has only asked political parties to provide details of bonds received by them and from whom in a sealed cover to the Election Commission. It did not stay the operation of the scheme.
"This is a half-hearted and disappointing order, given the fact the court heard arguments from all sides for three days," the editorial said.
"In the light of the court's declared stand of the people's right to know, the least the court could have done was to stay the scheme till a final judgment...
"It is to be hoped that the Supreme Court will put an end to this diabolical scheme which legitimizes big corporate and illegal money funding to the ruling party." IANS