Amid the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, while there is hype of political parties getting funding in the electoral process by the corporate houses and individuals, there is another darker side that has raised controversy even in the Supreme Court of India. The controversy is over the electoral bonds. The Election Commission has sharply criticised the introduction of the electoral bonds scheme, calling it a “retrograde step” that opens up the possibility of setting up shell companies through which black money can be used for political funding.
However, the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been bragging about the scheme for a long time now as the saffron party mulls that the scheme aims at ensuring enhanced accountability thus pushing the electoral reforms to defeat the growing menace of black money.
However, on the ground level, the situation is not so transparent. As a matter of fact, electoral bonds were introduced by the Modi government in the last fiscal as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties. The idea was to increase transparency in political funding and curb usage of black money but the instrument now finds itself in the centre of a major controversy over allegations that it is not only skewed towards the ruling party, but flouts the concept of free and transparent elections.
As per the data released by the ECI, a whopping Rs 3,622 crore worth of electoral bonds were sold in just two months, March and April, ahead of elections. Also, in 2018, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was recorded as having been the biggest beneficiary of the scheme with over Rs 220 crore in bonds that were purchased as of March 2018 went to the right-wing saffron party.