BJP Defends Electoral Bonds, Says ‘Opposed by Those Immersed in Corruption’
File image of Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal | (Photo Credits: PTI)

Delhi, November 21: Hitting out at the criticism of electoral bonds, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday attacked the Congress, saying that it is only natural that they will oppose a system which is cleaning the electoral process from the curse of black money. In the midst of the controversy over electoral bonds being misused by the BJP, Goyal was fielded to counter the Congress and other Opposition parties which are using the issue to create din during the Parliament session.

Addressing the media on the issue of electoral bonds, he said that for the first time in the country, a government has taken a decisive step which promotes electoral funding and it is unique that those who are themselves immersed in corruption are opposing it the most. Parliament Winter Session 2019: Congress Gives Adjournment Motion Notice in Lok Sabha Over Electoral Bonds Issue.

"There have been cases earlier of Prime Ministers allegedly accepting suitcases of cash, of various scams including Bofors, Jeep, 2G, Coalgate etc. In all of these it is the Congress party which has been involved. It is natural that they will oppose a system which is cleaning the electoral process from the curse of black money," he alleged.

Goyal said the new electoral reform is being criticized by sections which flourished under an opaque system where black money flourished. Pointing out the contradictions in the stand of these parties, he sarcastically said that notably those parties that are opposed to electoral bonds are happily accepting donations through them. "This opposition is the handiwork of the alliance of the defeated and dejected," he added.

About how electoral bonds have brought transparency and accountability to the system, he said that they have a KYC mechanism while the old system had no way to assess donor credentials.

Goyal mentioned that how even Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had amended IT Act and donations were treated as an expenditure. This had encouraged white money in the economy and political system, he said, adding that in line with the same, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reduced cash donation limit to Rs 2,000 in Budget 2017-18 from the earlier limit of Rs 20,000.

Electoral bonds are in the same trajectory of electoral reforms to bring transparency and remove black money from the system, he added.

Recounting the consultations between Reserve Bank of India and Election Commission of India, he said that between the passing of the Finance Bill on March 31, 2017, and Notification of the Electoral Bond Scheme on January 2, 2018, there were multiple interactions between the RBI and the government. To ensure there is no misuse, the encashment can be done by only qualified registered parties and within 15 days, he added.

He stressed that electoral bonds provide for a complete white money donation, as they are a banking instrument of the State Bank of India, and a political party has to deposit it in a single declared bank account.

"Therefore, cash has been removed from the process of donation. Now, people who want to be a part of the political process but are scared of political retribution will be able to contribute," he said.