Electoral Bonds: Freeze BJP bank accounts, conduct special investigation, says Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge

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Electoral Bonds: Congress President M Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said that a special investigation into the electoral bonds scheme should be conducted and BJP’s bank accounts must be frozen till its completion. 

He added that while the BJP amassed crores through electoral bonds, the Congress faced the seizure of its bank account despite receiving donations. 

The electoral bond data released by the Election Commission of India showed that the BJP encashed by far the highest amount of EBs (Rs.6,060.52 crore in total) among political parties.

Of Rs 12,769 crore worth electoral bonds encashed by the political parties in the last five years, ruling BJP bagged almost half, and one-third of this came during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In fact, the party has encashed electoral bonds worth Rs.202 crore in January this year, ahead of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Kharge said: “Prime Minister says ‘Na khaunga, na khane dunga (Will not eat, will not let others eat)’, but today it has been exposed by the Supreme Court how the BJP has made money out of electoral bonds. SBI data shows BJP got 50 per cent donations and Congress got only 11 per cent.” 

He added: “Even our voter pattern (percentage) if you see we are nearly one third and rest of the people are two-third including BJP, but in donations they got more than 50 per cent. How can they get this much money? How can the capitalist or other companies give such donations?”

Kharge also raised the issue of several companies purchasing electoral bonds soon after they faced raids by central agencies such as Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department. While the BJP has collected crores of rupees in electoral bonds, the bank account of the Congress, which received donations, was frozen, he said. 

The data made public by ECI showed that BJO redeemed the most donation during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the November 2023 elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.

About 33% of the total amount that the party redeemed from April 12, 2019 till January 24 this year was during April and May 2019 (Rs.1,056.86 crore in April 2019 and Rs.714.71 crore in May 2019). During the latest Assembly elections in November 2023, the redemption increased to Rs.702 crore, from Rs.359.05 crore in October.

The Congress, which got the third-highest amount among parties after the BJP and Trinamool Congress, redeemed a total of Rs. 1,421.87 crore in 3,146 bonds from April 12, 2019 to January 22, 2024. 

Regional parties received over Rs 5,221 crore in donations through electoral bonds between April 2019 and January 2024.

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