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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Electoral bonds: Joshi takes on Rahul Gandhi, says INDI Alliance should have rejected donations

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As the Lok Sabha elections approach, the electoral bonds scheme has become a contentious issue, escalating tensions between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress. Both parties have engaged in a war of words, intensifying the debate on the controversial funding mechanism.

Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister and BJP’s candidate from Dharwad Lok Sabha constituency, launched a blistering attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, alleging that the INDI Alliance had received donations equivalent to the BJP through electoral bonds. Joshi questioned Gandhi’s silence on the donations received by the Congress and its allies, suggesting that they should have rejected the contributions.

“Rahul Gandhi has not responded to the donations they have received… We have adhered to the Supreme Court’s directives. However, the Congress and its allies have received donations exceeding Rs 1,600 crore. If the BJP has received funds, so have they (INDIA Alliance). Why the double standards? They should have rejected the donations. What is their stance on receiving money?” Joshi queried.

In a counterattack, Rahul Gandhi labeled the electoral bonds scheme as the “world’s largest extortion scheme”, placing the blame squarely on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi alleged that significant contracts were awarded to donors shortly after the BJP received funds through electoral bonds.

“The crux of the electoral bond issue lies in the names and dates. An examination reveals that donors were awarded contracts or had CBI inquiries against them withdrawn soon after making contributions through electoral bonds. The Prime Minister’s evasive approach underscores his involvement. This scheme epitomizes global extortion, orchestrated by PM Modi,” Gandhi claimed.

Prime Minister Modi defended the electoral bonds scheme, emphasizing its objective to combat black money in electoral funding. He dismissed the opposition’s allegations, accusing them of spreading misinformation about the scheme.

“For years, the role of black money in elections has been a subject of debate. We aimed to address this issue and ensure transparency in political funding. The electoral bonds scheme is a step towards achieving that goal. While it may not be flawless, it demonstrates our commitment to eliminating black money,” PM Modi stated.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court declared the electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional, prompting the Election Commission of India to release data on electoral bonds on its official website, as directed by the court.

As the Lok Sabha elections draw nearer, the electoral bonds scheme continues to be a contentious issue, providing a platform for both parties to challenge each other’s integrity and transparency in political funding.

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