BJP Defends Electoral Bonds, Says Respects Supreme Court Verdict

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BJP Defends Electoral Bonds, Says Respects Supreme Court Verdict

The party also accused the opposition of politicising the issue.

New Delhi:

The BJP on Thursday defended the electoral bonds scheme, struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, saying it had a laudable objective of bringing transparency in poll funding.

BJP leader and former law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, added that his party respects the Supreme Court verdict.

Noting that the verdict has been delivered by a Constitution bench of the top court, he said the judgment runs into hundreds of pages and requires a comprehensive study before a structured reply is given by the party.

He told reporters that the government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made efforts to reform election funding and the introduction of electoral bonds was a part of such measures.

Mr Prasad said the voters’ list now carries photographs of electorates while electronic voting machines are being used in large numbers, curbing the menace of booth-capturing.

“This (bonds) was also a part of similar sincere efforts to make elections transparent. The honourable Supreme Court has given its judgment and we respect it. What we have to say on the verdict will be decided after going through the verdict,” he said.

Taking a swipe at the Congress which had alleged that the bonds could also work as a bribe to the ruling BJP from corporate groups, he said the parties whose “DNA is based on corruption and bribery” should not level such charges against the BJP.

Amid claims that electoral bonds denied opposition parties a level playing field in elections, he said it is for people to decide who are in the field and who are out of it.

People have thrown some parties out of the field and they could not not win even one seat in regions which used to be their strongholds, he said in a clear swipe at the Congress.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli accused the opposition parties of politicising the issue as they do not have any alternative to PM 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,” Mr 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.

Kohli said India has now become the fifth largest economy in the world from the 10th largest economy and it is on its way to become the third largest economy under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership.

“These political parties find themselves in a position that an alliance they were trying to craft is almost dying itself or it’s dying out or collapsing even before it could stand on its legs,” the BJP spokesperson said.

“So, their reason for politicising it is very clear,” he added.

Mr Kohli said the government had brought the electoral bond scheme to address the issue of use of black money in elections.

“The largest perspective is that this has been a journey for several decades and a concern has been how to prevent black money or slush money getting into the electoral process,” the BJP leader said.

“Keeping concerns regarding the identities of the contributors in the mind, a (electoral bond) scheme came. The Supreme Court has held that this scheme in this format could not have been there. Therefore, it passed a set of directions,” he said.

The top court has “basically” said today that in electoral bonds the information should come out, Mr Kohli said, adding, “any order of the Supreme Court or its judgment has to be accepted”.

The top court said the government’s electoral bond scheme violates the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression as well as the right to information.

The opposition parties welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict and attacked the BJP.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the court has struck down a “black money conversion” scheme of the Modi government and hoped it would stop resorting to “such mischievous ideas” in the future as well.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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