New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday hit out at the government over the electoral bonds scheme saying that while the ruling BJP’s scheme will not bring in transparency to the process of electoral funding, it has kept a backdoor open to misuse this in its favour.
The government had on Tuesday outlined the contours of an electoral bond scheme which purportedly seeks to ensure the flow of clean money to political parties, without revealing the donors’ names. Under the scheme, donors can buy bonds from the State bank of India (SBI) and political parties receiving these bonds can encash them only through a designated bank account.
Reacting sharply to this scheme to reform election funding, the Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that while hiding the names of donors of electoral bonds was a “regressive step”, the fact is that, through banks, the government can easily trace the name of purchasers and the political parties receiving these bonds.
He tweeted, “Hiding ‘donor names’ of ‘Electoral Bonds’ is a regressive step that paints process of electoral funding to Modi government’s favourite colour: BLACK!” And added, “Is it meant to stifle ‘transparency’ and give unlimited access to ruling party to misuse info and state machinery to coerce donors!”
In the Lok Sabha, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said on Tuesday that the electoral bonds will be valid for 15 days, will not carry the donor’s name even though the purchaser would have to fulfil KYC norms at the bank.
The Congress alleges that since banks will know the name of the purchaser, the ruling party can easily access this information and trace the electoral bond to the political party receiving it. The Congress is also critical of removal of the clause that if a public company donates money to a political party it has to inform all its shareholders.
The government has said that the electoral bonds will be available at specified branches of SBI for 10 days each in the months of January, April, July and October.