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'Everyone will regret when there is honest reflection': PM Modi on scrapping electoral bonds
Electoral bonds
Videograb of PM Modi speaking to ANI/ courtesy: X

'Everyone will regret when there is honest reflection': PM Modi on scrapping electoral bonds

| @@indiablooms | 15 Apr 2024, 08:20 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the scrapping of the electoral bonds - in a landmark decision by the Supreme Court in February - is a decision "everyone will regret when there is honest reflection".

In an interview with news agency ANI on Monday, the PM said the decision has "completely pushed the country towards black money."

He said the electoral bonds scheme was launched by his government to fight the use of 'black money', referring to unaccounted cash or funds from criminal activities, in election campaigns, and that he had "never claimed this was an absolute way" to achieve that goal.

PM Modi attacked the opposition for spreading "lies" about the bonds and said his government had introduced the scheme to cut down on 'black money' during elections.

Countering criticism that his party- the Bharatiya Janata Party was the largest beneficiary, to the tune of thousands of crores.

"There has been a discussion in our country for a long time... that black money allows for dangerous games to be played during elections. That money is spent in elections... no one denies. My party also spends... all parties and all candidates spend, and this money is taken from the people. I wanted to try something... how can our elections be free from this black money?

"How can there be transparency for people giving donations? This was a pure thought in my mind," the PM said.

"We were looking for a way. We found a small way... never claimed this was absolute," he said, reiterating his comments from earlier this month when he told a Tamil news channel "no system is perfect... shortcomings can be improved".

PM Modi's comments on electoral bonds came in a wide-ranging interview aired this evening four days ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha election.

The electoral bonds scheme launched to allow private individuals and corporate bodies to make completely anonymous donations to any political party was struck down by the Supreme Court in February.

A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud ruled the scheme unconstitutional on two grounds that it violated the people's right to information and the right to equality. The apex court directed the State Bank of India (the sole sales point for the bonds) to release data about buyers and beneficiaries.

Modi, however, told ANI that the 16 companies that bought electoral bonds after facing money laundering cases, and that 63 percent of that amount went to parties other than the BJP.

Taking a jibe at the opposition, he said, "The work of donating to the opposition... Will the BJP do this? 63 percent went to them... and you are making allegations against us?"

"This is the success story of electoral bonds. There were electoral bonds... so you are getting a (money) trail of which company gave, how much, where. Whether what happened was good or bad can be an issue of debate..." Modi told ANI.

The Prime Minister vehemently denied allegations by the opposition that the current political landscape favours the ruling party. The opposition has pointed to changes like the new law that allows the government to choose poll panel officials, who are supposed to ensure a free and fair election.

"In fact, we have made improvements. Today, when the Election Commission is formed, the opposition is also in it," he said.

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