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BJP defends electoral bonds, Congress terms it 'big scam'

BJP defends electoral bonds, Congress terms it big scam

New Delhi: After the Congress staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha calling electoral bonds a "big scam", Union minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said those opposing the new electoral funding system are "corrupt politicians" who don't want clean money to fund their election campaigns.

"People who are revolting against electoral bonds have grown used to black money and believe in its usage during elections. This is the alliance of the defeated and dejected corrupt politicians who do not want clean, tax-paid transparent money to fund elections," he said.

"This is the same lobby that had made dubious and wrong charges at the Rafale deal and has been rejected by the people of India. The Supreme Court, too, quashed their false claims," he added.

Calling the electoral bonds a success, Goyal maintained it helped in curbing corruption. He added that all the information related to electoral bonds is available in the public domain through RTI.

"Earlier, donations worth Rs 20,000 were allowed in cash. We changed that to Rs 2,000 so that only poor people could help political parties with cash. Honest and clean money has started to come in Indian politics since then," Goyal said.

"Previously, there was no record of where the money came from and where it went. The new system will now allow taxpayers' money with KYC tags to buy bonds," he added.

He also said the Centre made sure that whatever money was used in elections by parties came from banks directly.

"By electoral bonds, we have made sure that whatever money is used in election proceedings must come from the bank, through the KYC procedures, and can be issued by selected SBI branches so that the SBI can keep its track," he added.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, protested in both Houses of Parliament after the matter of electoral bonds was not allowed to be taken up for discussion.

"This is a big scam. The country is being looted. Please allow us to speak," Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.

As MPs stormed into the Well of the House, Speaker Om Birla showed the rulebook and urged the protesting MPs to maintain the dignity of the House.

Congress MP Manish Tewari claimed the Reserve Bank of India had shown reservation over electoral bonds but it was overruled by the government.

"I want to draw the attention of the House towards electoral bonds. The electoral bond scheme was limited to elections. RTI in 2018 revealed that government overruled Reserve Bank of India on electoral bonds," he said.

Tewari's comments on the Prime Minister's Office prompted the Speaker to turn off his mic, which led to a walkout by the party, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi.

"This made government corruption official. People don't know who is the donor, who is the receiver and how much money has been given," he added.

On Wednesday, Congress demanded that the government disclose the identity of all donors and reveal in Parliament information regarding donations received by all political parties.

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