TODAY -

Electoral bonds and Mr Bond

Free Thinker *



As per the latest info available in public space the booty of electoral bonds went–approximately 50% to the Ruling and another 50% to the Opposition (though fragmented). That means our rich responsible citizens are doing justice to the Bharat democracy which is the oldest in the world, older than the Athenian version. We had the bicameral system (rudimentary-type) in Vedic Age in the form of Sabha and Samiti.

When Alexander landed here he encountered Republics run by egalitarian citizen-cum-warriors. The Balloting system in this country was as old as the Cholas. Let us talk about ancient Bharat Democracy some other day. Today let's concentrate on bonds ie, electoral bonds.

How many of us had purchased electoral bonds and for how much money from the designated SBI and which parties were the beneficiaries ? We will come to know about all these sooner or later. But our predicament is–if nobody bought electoral bonds and parties received no fund–that would be ignominious for all of us in Manipur.

That kind of situation is undesirable. At least some should have purchased e-bonds and given to a party or parties. I want to believe that we did and parties benefitted. We should always be part of the great democratic jamboree.

One Shri Jha from Upper House said, “a private company was raided by ED and a few days later, it ended up buying electoral bonds, anybody can join the dots.” Yes, it could be. But, we are unable to join the dots, Jha ji may kindly do the needful.

There is a possibility that if a Company or a rich person is raided by ED or IT – the same company or the person may purchase the bonds to save their money from future raids or repeated raids–and give those to a party with some understanding, so that the company or the person can redeem the same (even less ) later in cash or in kind. All donations and investments have meanings, if you read in between the lines.

A Left leader utters, “it is clear that once they buy electoral bonds, the investigation against them is suspended, this is nothing but a clear cut case of political extortion.” Even if a Company is investigated by ED or IT or CBI that Company is not barred from buying electoral bonds and give the same to the Parties.

It is also possible that in retaliation the concerned Company might have purchased humongous bonds and given those to the Opposition party. In anger and desperation such things might have happened too.

We really don’t know who is extorting whom. The extortionists are very smart people, normally they don’t use crude methods. Mr Gandhi says, this is the world’s biggest extortion racket. Congress President demands freezing of BJP bank accounts. Chidambaram says it is ‘legalized bribery’. These are the opinions expressed by the main Opposition party.

Their earnings from the electoral bond system must be quite substantial though less than the Ruling Party. Their income is perhaps comparable with Trinamool, DMK ctc. If the grudge is about less bonds and less money–we don’t know what to say.

As if BJP is the main beneficiary of electoral bonds – many people are shouting foul. But in reality all the Political parties have received bonds from the donors. Obviously the ruling party got more than them.

It is human nature to be with the power that be (in most of the cases). People can’t be blamed for funding the BJP more than others. Are you sure that the Companies raided by ED and other Agencies purchased the bonds and gave those to BJP ? The recipients could be the Opposition parties too.

In 2020, nearly 14 billion US dollars was spent on federal election campaigns in the United States – making it the most expensive campaign in US history.

Following a number of Supreme Court verdicts – the very wealthy are now allowed to spend unlimited amounts on campaigns through Political Action Committees and also to prevent voters from knowing who is trying to influence them by contributing ‘dark money’ that masks the donor’s identity. Consequently, big money dominates US political campaigns to a degree not seen in decades and is drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans (Courtesy Wikipedia).

Political funding is a big issue everywhere in the world. Similar controversies linger on in mature democracies too. Even in the United Kingdom and France the menace of political funding mars the true meaning of democracy.

If there are shortcomings in our political funding system we need to improve upon it. Political parties need money– for election campaigns and also for running their party organization. Arun ji might have introduced it in good faith. Judiciary as obiter dicta may suggest a better, fairer and more transparent political funding system so that the lawmakers do the needful.

Finally, the Apex Court Chief says, it is duty bound to give bond numbers (alphanumeric code). Only SBI can give the numbers. That will enable actual matching between the donors with the recipients. As of now we have only one Bond number in public domain that is 007 (MI6).


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 11 March 2024.



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