‘Majority of People are Unaware of Electoral Bond Scam; If the Voters Know It, Forget 400, NDA Won’t Even Cross 40 Seats’

The analysts The Mooknayak spoke to, however, denied any possibility of it becoming a poll issue.
Truth about electoral bonds
Truth about electoral bondsGraphic- The Mooknayak

Basti (Uttar Pradesh)— With the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in the country, Uttar Pradesh (UP) plays a significant role in deciding as to who will lead the country for the next five years. This time in the politics of the state, while Ram temple is being seen as a big issue for the ruling party to capitalize on, the revelations about electoral bonds may pose a challenge for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the Centre.

The Mooknayak spoke to editors of some media groups in Purvanchal (eastern UP) to understand whether alleged corruption and extortion carried out by the incumbents via electoral bonds could become an issue at the local level in the upcoming general elections.

They denied any possibility of it becoming a poll issue as, according to them, there is no discussion among people at grassroot level about electoral bonds through funds worth crores of rupees were allegedly looted.

“If the people in the rural areas of the state understand this, then the 400-plus slogans of the ruling party may fail miserably,” they said, adding that the saffron party in that case won’t be able to even secure 40 seats.

Saurabh VP Verma, editor of the online media group Tahkikat Samachar, claims that after the Supreme Court declared electoral bonds unconstitutional, the information about its buyers and the parties receiving the money redeeming it has been made public on the website of the Election Commission of India (ECI). The truth is way beyond the revelations that have been made so far about the electoral bonds.

“Almost 90 percent of the people of the country are not aware of the electoral bond scam. If the BJP, which alone has received donations of more than Rs 6,000 crores, had wished, it could have improved the job, education and health sectors phenomenally. But the party spent all the money on advertisements to spread lies, polarise people on religious lines and create hatred in the society. It’s IT cell spreads misleading information to people through WhatsApp and social media to populate minds of hundreds and thousands of innocents everyday,” he alleged.

The data of electoral bonds was made public by the State bank of India (SBI) only after the apex court rapped it. This data is of electoral bonds purchased from April 12, 2019 to January 24, 2024.

The parties that have encashed the money received through electoral bonds include the BJP, the Congress, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Samajwadi Party (SP), the AIADMK, the BRS, the Shiv Sena, the TDP, the YSR Congress, the DMK, the JDS, the NCP, the JDU and the RJD.

Data made public by the EC shows that out of a total of 487 donors to the ruling BJP, the top 10 have purchased bonds worth Rs 2,119 crore, which is 35% of the Rs 6,060 crore (the amount of the total electoral bonds redeemed by other political parties since April 2019). This figure is the highest among all parties.

Ashok Kumar Srivastava, editor of Media Dastak, who has been closely following the electoral politics in UP for a long time, told The Mooknayak electoral bonds are the “biggest scam” not only in the country but in the world.

“The party which had come to power promising to bring back the black money allegedly stashed in foreign banks has stooped so low that it has to hide its bank account transactions. Thanks to the CJI (Justice DY Chandrachud) that he brought out the truth about electoral bonds by making the SBI to release lists with all details with regard to electoral bonds,” he said.

He added, “Today, the whole country is aware of how money has been raised through electoral bonds by bringing industrialists and politicians under the ambit of investigations. The high inflation, unemployment and corruption that electorates are facing today is also the result of electoral bonds.”

“Those who gave millions of rupees as election donations to the ruling party to cover up their corruption are now recovering the same from people. As far as the side effect of electoral bonds on the Lok Sabha elections is concerned, it is clear that Narendra Modi has made up his mind to make this election one-sided. You can see that the party, which has received millions of rupees against donations, is spending money like water to win the elections, and the bank accounts of the Opposition party (the Congress) have been frozen,” he said.

‘Make People Aware Of Electoral Bond Scam’

Srivastava, while insisting that the Opposition parties should make people understand about the corruption involving electoral bonds, said when the AAP started speaking out, its prominent leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, were sent to jail in a “fabricated case”, and even the party office was sealed.

He said the effect of electoral bonds could have been such that the settings of the EVMs would not work and the Modi government would have been voted out of power. But the Opposition has failed to convey the entire truth about this election donation to the people.

“Most of the leaders lack knowledge about the bonds. What should they tell in public? The BJP fights elections on many fronts. It is increasing its own strength and demolishing the Opposition. There should be a level playing field. Can an 80-kg wrestler be made to fight the one whose weight is 50 kg?” he concluded.

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