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19.04.2021
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The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has disclosed Hindalco Industries as its sole donor through electoral bonds. This is the first time a political party has disclosed its donation through the scheme.

The disclosure was made as part of the party’s FY20 contribution report submitted to the Election Commission (EC), the Indian Express reported.

JMM is headed by former Jharkhand CM Shibu Soren.

As per the report, Hindalco donated Rs 1 crore to JMM via bond number AAACH1201R issued by the Court Compound Branch of the State Bank of India (SBI).

The move is significant as the electoral bond scheme has been controversial and challenged by activists for allowing anonymous donations to political parties. It thus does not fully allow for information on which party has been funded how much and by whom.

Prior to the scheme, parties had to disclose all donors who contributed more than Rs 20,000. Electoral bonds was announced in the 2017 Budget and introduced in 2018. The main sticking point for activists has been transparency and citizen’s ‘Right to Know.’

JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya told the paper that they were unaware of who the donor was till Hindalco reached out for a receipt of the contribution.

“We disclosed the name in our report to the EC since we gave them a receipt. Parties like BJP may not be disclosing details of donors but we have nothing to hide,” he said.

When asked, Bhattacharya said they are “not concerned” with why Hindalco asked for a receipt since SBI would have provided one already.

Hindalco Industries is part of the Aditya Birla Group. The group did not respond to queries, as per the report.

According to an analysis of TMC, BSP and 12 regional parties by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), they collected 50.44 percent or Rs 312.37 crore through electoral bonds.

The BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of the scheme, collecting Rs 1,660.89 crore of 60.17 percent of its Rs 2,760.20 crore earnings through electoral bonds, in FY18 and FY19. Its audit report for 2019-20 is not public yet.

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