Fresh Data On Funding To Political Parties Through Electoral Bonds Released

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Fresh Data On Funding To Political Parties Through Electoral Bonds Released

The Election Commission today released data received from political parties on electoral bonds

New Delhi:

The Election Commission today released data received from political parties on electoral bonds, which it had given to the Supreme Court in sealed covers.

These details are believed to be for the period before April 12, 2019. Electoral bond details after this date was made public by the EC on Thursday.

“… The Registry of the Supreme Court has returned physical copies along with a digitised record of the same in a pen drive in sealed cover. The Election Commission of India has today uploaded the data received in digitised form from the registry of the Supreme Court on electoral bonds on its website,” the EC said in a statement today.

The EC released the data a day after it announced the dates for the Lok Sabha elections to be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1.

The latest documents released by the EC only show raw data of the date of the bonds, denominations, number of bonds, issuing State Bank of India (SBI) branch, date of receipt, and date of credit. It does not disclose the unique numbers of the bonds.

The Trinamool Congress has written to SBI asking for the unique numbers of the bonds so that the party can comply with the Supreme Court’s directions. The BJP has not given any such request to SBI, but has given raw data.

Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) said it hasn’t got any donation via electoral bonds. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), said it too didn’t get donations via electoral bonds.

The Congress said it will release raw data given by SBI to the EC.

Electoral bonds have been a key method of political funding, allowing donors to give anonymously through certificates purchased from SBI. But last month the Supreme Court struck down the scheme as unconstitutional, saying it violated the right of voters to know who was financing parties.

The BJP had received slightly less than 48 per cent of all election bonds cashed by parties up to March 2023. In the same timeframe, the Congress had by contrast received 11 per cent of the total.

More than half of all donations received by political parties since 2018 came in the form of electoral bonds, according to the advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The data release still does not map electoral bond buyers to recipients, leaving it unclear which individual and corporate donors were funding which parties.

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