NEW DELHI: The Congress on Thursday mounted an offensive against the government over the issue of electoral bonds, alleging they were introduced to legitimise corruption, and sought a JPC probe. The BJP rejected the charges, saying the electoral bond had allowed the use of clean money in elections in a transparent manner.
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour, Congress MP Manish Tewari said the government had overruled the RBI’s reservations regarding the electoral bonds. The party pressed for an adjournment motion to discuss the issue. Its members trooped into the well of the House after Speaker Om Birla rejected the adjournment motion.
Shashi Tharoor said his party had serious objections about the electoral bond as it could become a channel for the rich and corporate entities to influence political parties, including the ruling dispensation.
Amidst a din in the House, Birla warned the MPs against raising slogans. Later, the Congress MPs staged a walkout.
Addressing the media in Parliament, Tewari said the “completely opaque nature” of electoral bonds was “a fundamental threat to democracy”. He accused the ruling BJP of trying to make the country’s democracy “hostage to the influence of big money”.
Speaking to reporters at the BJP headquarters, Union minister Piyush Goyal dismissed the allegations as baseless and said the Congress was raising the issue because the Modi government had curbed the use of black money in elections. “The government had accepted the recommendations of the Election Commission before coming up with the electoral bond, besides providing for the KYC norms and use of the bond within 15 days of the issuance by the bank,” said Goyal.
The minister said that the unveiling of the electoral bond has also put to an end to the old practice of accepting cash donations, which at times didn’t reach even the party coffers.