TMC Outruns INC Not Just in Vote Share but in Purchasing Electoral Bonds Too, Comes Up to Be the Party With Second Highest Number of Bonds

Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress emerged as the second highest utilizer of bonds, totalling Rs 1,609 crore.
TMC Outruns INC Not Just in Vote Share but in Purchasing Electoral Bonds Too, Comes Up to Be the Party With Second Highest Number of Bonds

New Delhi: On March 14, the Election Commission of India (ECI) released details of the electoral bond transactions on its website. The data was provided to the poll watchdog after the Supreme Court came down heavily on the State Bank of India (SBI) — which was seeking more time. 

According to the data, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the primary beneficiary of the contentious scheme, having encashed bonds totalling Rs 6,060 crore from April 12, 2019, to January 11, 2024. Notably, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) ranked second in terms of bond utilization with Rs 1,609 crore.

It’s a noteworthy revelation, especially considering that Mamata vigorously pursued allegations of corruption and exclusivity against the BJP. One might have expected the Indian National Congress, being a national party, to occupy the second spot on the list instead.

Notably, the TMC’s redemption of electoral bonds experienced a notable surge following the party’s resounding victory in the West Bengal Assembly elections in 2021. The party’s ability to mobilize funds through these bonds reflected its increased prominence and support base, particularly in the wake of significant political events such as state elections.

Examining the specifics of the data, it is evident that the TMC’s redemption of electoral bonds witnessed fluctuations corresponding to key electoral milestones and periods of political significance.

For instance, during the months of October-November 2020 and January 2021, a period marked by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and leading up to the polls in West Bengal, the party redeemed a substantial number of bonds, indicating heightened financial activity in the political landscape.

Following the victory in the West Bengal elections, the TMC demonstrated a remarkable surge in bond redemptions, underscoring the correlation between electoral success and financial backing.

Subsequent periods, including October 2021 and January 2022, witnessed continued high levels of bond redemptions by the party, indicating sustained financial support.

However, there were brief dips in bond redemption activity, as seen in April 2022, followed by a subsequent increase in July and October of the same year.

In February 2024, Mamata asserted that her party maintains a clean record. She accused the BJP of persistently attempting to smear the reputation of the TMC government with baseless corruption allegations, despite its steadfast dedication to the overall development of the state.

Speaking at a government event held in Arambagh, Hooghly district, the chief minister emphasized that despite encountering financial constraints imposed by the Centre, her administration has effectively executed numerous welfare schemes for the benefit of the disadvantaged.

“We have undertaken significant initiatives for the betterment of our citizens, yet we are unfairly targeted with accusations of corruption,” she stated.

During the party’s 27th Foundation Day, which is celebrated on January 1 each year, TMC Minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim said, “Corruption is the dirtiest thing, and Mamata Banerjee does not want it.” But the data tells a different story.

Talking to The Mooknayak, Saira Shah Halim, CPI(M)’s Lok Sabha candidate from South Kolkata and an activist commented on the revelation regarding the state’s ruling party. “This is an astronomical figure, and the TMC has been riddled with corruption charges for a very long time,” she asserted.

She also cited Partha Chatterjee, the former education minister currently incarcerated due to similar accusations, highlighting instances such as the teacher’s recruitment and ration scams — portraying a narrative of individuals in positions of authority exploiting their power to exploit the people of Bengal.

With multiple parties coming under scrutiny, the TMC is particularly tarnished with an image of extortion. Saira added there is a pressing need for a comprehensive investigation into these allegations.

According to the politician, the data prompts several inquiries. "How has a party that predominantly holds power in just one state managed to accumulate such a significant amount of money? Who are the individuals funding their election campaigns? And what do these financiers stand to gain from their contributions?"

The Mooknayak also reached out to the party, but its officials declined to make any comment.

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