Former Finance minister P Chidambaram took a dig at corporate donations and termed it as a way to express their “thanks” to the government for the “numerous favours”. The remarks by the senior Congress leader came in wake of an RTI response obtained by The Indian Express from the State Bank of India (SBI) on February 15, showing that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) received more than half of all Electoral Bonds (EBs) sold from 2018-2023.
In a Twitter thread posted on Monday night, Chidambaram wrote, “Over Rs 12,000 crore worth Electoral Bonds sold so far. The bulk of the amount has been purchased by corporates and donated to the BJP anonymously. Why are corporates so eager to donate through the non-transparent Electoral Bonds mechanism?”
“Corporates do not donate through Electoral Bonds because they love democracy. Corporate donation is the way to express their thanks to the Government for the numerous favours they had got in the past years,” the former finance minister said.
“It is a neat arrangement. Favours are done quietly. Rewards are received secretly. Long live our anonymous Democracy,” he added.
The Electoral Bonds scheme was brought into force by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, and the sale window for the first tranche opened in 2018.
The SBI is the only bank which is authorised to sell Electoral Bonds. The 25th tranche of EBs opened from January 19-28.
The RTI reply to IE mentioned that a total of 21,171 bonds have been purchased so far since the first tranche was sold on March 1, 2018. The EB scheme has facilitated donations of over Rs 12,008.59 crore to political parties through anonymous donors.
The largest denomination which is available is Rs one crore, which is the most popular, the RTI reply mentioned.
The RTI reply said that from March 2018-January 2023, the BJP has so far received Rs 9,208.23 crore, the Congress
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party had not declared any EBs.