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BJP reacts to SC scrapping electoral bonds scheme: 'It was brought for transparency in poll funding'

Noting that the verdict has been delivered by a constitution bench of the Supreme Court, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the judgment runs into hundreds of pages and requires a comprehensive study before a structured reply is given by the party.

Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan New Delhi Published on: February 15, 2024 17:39 IST
BJP reacts to SC scrapping electoral bonds scheme.
Image Source : X/@BJPLIVE BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has reacted after the Supreme Court on Thursday scrapped the central government's electoral bonds scheme of anonymous political funding, terming it "unconstitutional". In a landmark judgement, the top court also ordered disclosure of the names of the purchasers, the value of the bonds and their recipients.

Reacting to the court's order, senior BJP leader and former Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the electoral bonds had a "laudable objective of bringing transparency" in electoral funding. However, he added that his party respects the Supreme Court's verdict.

'Judgment requires a comprehensive study'

Speaking to reporters, Prasad highlighted that the verdict from a constitution bench of the apex court, spanning hundreds of pages, necessitates a thorough examination before the party can provide a structured response. Emphasising the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government in reforming election funding, he cited the introduction of electoral bonds as part of these measures.

In response to allegations from the Congress regarding electoral bonds potentially serving as bribes to the ruling BJP from corporate entities, he criticised parties whose "DNA is based on corruption and bribery," cautioning against such accusations. He further remarked on the electoral landscape, noting the decline of certain parties, including the Congress, in regions where they were traditionally strong, implying their diminishing electoral relevance.

BJP accuses Opposition of politicising the issue 

Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli accused the opposition parties of politicising the issue as they do not have any alternative to Modi's leadership and the positive work done by his government.

The BJP's reaction came after the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment annulled the electoral bonds scheme ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, due in April-May. "We practise in courts and on a daily basis, cases are won and lost," Kohli told PTI when asked for his comment.

Any order of the Supreme Court or its judgment has to be accepted and respected, he added. "But those political parties who are trying to politicise it are doing it primarily on the grounds that they have no answer or alternative to Modi ji's leadership and the positive work done by his government where crores of people have benefitted,” he charged.

Maharashtra BJP reacts to SC verdict

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Thursday said the Supreme Court's decision to hold the electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional will not affect his party as it does not "gain money through political power." 

He was replying to a question about the opposition taking swipes at the saffron party over the ruling as the electoral funding scheme was brought in by the Narendra Modi government. "The Supreme Court's verdict should be respected. It will not affect the BJP, as we do not gain money through political power. We do not have such 'sanskar' (values)," Bawankule told reporters.

Supreme Court strikes down electoral bonds scheme

Ordering closure of the scheme forthwith, the top court also directed the State Bank of India, the authorised financial institution under the scheme, to submit by March 6 the details of electoral bonds purchased since April 12, 2019, till date to the Election Commission, which will publish the information on its official website by March 13.

Under the electoral bonds scheme, ruling parties can coerce people and entities to contribute, the apex court said and rejected as "erroneous" the Centre's argument that it protects the confidentiality of the contributor which is akin to the system of secret ballot.

"The electoral bond scheme and the impugned provisions to the extent that they infringe upon the right to information of the voter by anonymizing contributions through electoral bonds are violative of Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution," said the bench in its verdict delivered months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

(With inputs from PTI)

ALSO READ: Electoral bonds a process to turn black money into white, violates right to information, says SC | Key points

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