Electoral Bonds Unveiled: Impact on Politics

Electoral bonds data released: EC makes public donors list after SC order
Electoral Bonds Unveiled: Impact on Politics [Source: TheIndianExpress]

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has recently disclosed comprehensive data concerning electoral bonds, as mandated by the Supreme Court. This data, sourced from the State Bank of India (SBI), offers crucial insights into the prominent purchasers of electoral bonds and the political parties benefitting from this contentious financing method.

Released on the ECI's website, the data encompasses two distinct lists: one detailing the names of donors, their bond transactions including dates and denominations, and another enumerating the political parties that have cashed in on these bonds. The data spans from April 1, 2019, to February 15, 2024, encapsulating a total of 22,217 electoral bond transactions.

Noteworthy Corporate Donors:

Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited, currently under the scrutiny of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), emerged as the primary purchaser of electoral bonds, with a staggering total of Rs. 1,368 crore invested.

Following closely, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited, based in Hyderabad and recipient of numerous government contracts, secured the second position with electoral bond purchases amounting to Rs. 966 crore.

Other significant corporate contributors include Vedanta Limited (Rs. 400 crore), Bharti Group (Rs. 247 crore), Essel Mining and Industries Limited (Rs. 224 crore), and DLF Group (Rs. 170 crore). Notably, Haldia Energy (Rs. 377 crore), Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited (Rs. 410 crore), and Keventer Foodpark Infra Limited (Rs. 194 crore) also made substantial contributions.

Individual Contributions:

The data also unveils substantial contributions from prominent industrialists and business magnates in their personal capacities. Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, the steel tycoon, purchased bonds worth Rs. 35 crore, while companies under the helm of Sunil Bharti Mittal collectively invested Rs. 246 crore.

Political Beneficiaries:

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the primary beneficiary, encashing Rs. 6,566 crore or 54.77% of the total electoral bonds between March 2018 and January 2024. The Indian National Congress followed distantly with Rs. 1,123 crore (9.37%), and the Trinamool Congress secured Rs. 1,092 crore (9.11%). Several other national and regional parties also received significant contributions through electoral bonds, including the Shiv Sena, AIADMK, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JD(S), NCP, BJD, Samajwadi Party, and AAP.

The disclosure of this data holds substantial implications for understanding the dynamics of political financing in India and raises pertinent questions regarding transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

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