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11.01.2020
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The current ruling dispensation, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), received Rs 14,50,89,05,000 crore (Rs 1,450 cr) worth electoral bonds and the Congress received Rs 3,83,26,01,000 crore (Rs 383 cr) worth electoral bonds in the Financial Year (FY) 2018-19 reveals annual audit reports filed by the respective political parties to the Election Commission of India (EC).

Clearly, the BJP bagged a whopping 57% (approx) and the Congress 15% (approx) of the total number of electoral bonds sold worth Rs 2,551 crore (approx) in FY 2018-19.

While in FY 2017-18, the electoral bonds worth Rs 222 crore were sold only in the month of March 2018, the BJP bagged 95% of it – worth Rs 210 crore.

BJP bagged Rs 1,660 crore (approx), around 60% of total electoral bonds sold in two financial years (2017-18 & 2018-19) out of Rs 2,773 crore (approx).

While we know which political parties received how much of donation via electoral bonds, we don’t know who the donors are and probably would never know as the government touted the electoral bonds scheme to bring in more transparency in political funding and to stop inflow of cash.

But in reality, it made the political funding process opaque because political parties are not required to inform the EC about the donor of the electoral bonds.

The Quint had earlier reported that twenty national and state political parties had filed the annual audit reports to the EC by 22 November 2019. After studying the annual audit reports, we had found that out of 20, only in 5 political parties received donations through electoral bonds, which were worth Rs 587 crore (approx).

The annual audit report reveals the total income and expenditure of the political parties including donation received through electoral bonds.

Till date, 28 national and state political parties have filed the annual audit report to the EC for FY 2018-19. Of 28 political parties, only 7 political parties received electoral bonds. The break-ups are:

  • Bharatiya Janta Party: Rs 1,450 crore (approx)
  • Indian National Congress: Rs 383 crore (approx)
  • Biju Janta Dal (BJD): Rs 213.50 crore (approx)
  • Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS): Rs 141.50 crore (approx)
  • Trinamool Congress (TMC): Rs 97.28 crore (approx)
  • Janta Dal Secular: Rs 35.25 crore (approx)
  • YSR Congress Party (YSRCP): Rs 99.84 crore

The annual audit report also reflects that some big political parties like BSP, SP, Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party did not receive donations through electoral bonds.

Of Rs 2,551 crore, Rs 11 crore worth electoral bonds were not reimbursed, which went to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund as per the scheme.

Also Read : Not Just RBI & EC, Law Min Too Opposed Electoral Bonds: Here’s Why

Till now, electoral bonds have been sold in 12 phases between March 2018 to October 2019, worth Rs 6,128 crore.

In spite of controversies surrounding the scheme, the government has announced the sale of the 13th tranche of electoral bonds between 13-22 January 2020.

Based on The Quint’s investigation on the electoral bonds, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court demanding a stay on the sale of electoral bonds. The SC ordered all political parties to separately file a report to the EC in a sealed cover on donations received through electoral bonds by May 2019. Since the report was filed in a sealed cover, nobody except the SC can view the report.

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