Intention behind electoral bonds scheme was good: Gadkari; says no party can survive sans funds


PTI, Mar 23, 2024, 9:12 AM IST

Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said it was not possible to run a political party without funds, and added that the Centre had introduced the electoral bonds scheme, now struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, in 2017 with a ”good intention”.

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said all political parties need to sit together and deliberate if the Supreme Court gives any further direction on the matter.

He made the comments at an event organised by a media house in GIFT City near Gandhinagar on Friday.

”When Arun Jaitely was (Union finance) minister, I was part of that discussion (regarding electoral bonds). No party can survive without resources. In some countries, governments fund political parties. There is no such system in India. Thus, we chose this system of financing political parties,” said Gadkari on a question about electoral bonds.

He noted the main intention behind introducing electoral bonds was that political parties get funds directly, but the names (of donors) are not disclosed because ”problems arise if the party in power changes”.

The road transport and highways minister said just like a media house needs a sponsor to finance an event, political parties also require funds to run their affairs.

”You need to see the ground reality. How are parties supposed to fight elections? We brought this system of electoral bonds to bring transparency. So, our intention was good when we brought electoral bonds. If the SC finds any shortcomings in it and asks us to rectify it, all parties will sit together and unanimously deliberate on it,” emphasised the former BJP president.

”In the interest of our country and value-based democracy, everyone needs to find a transparent way (of financing parties). Because without funds, parties can’t undertake any activity,” asserted the minister.

The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment last week, annulled the electoral bonds scheme ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

The top court said the scheme violates the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression as well as the right to information.

Since then, the State Bank of India (SBI) has released different sets of data pertaining to the electoral bonds, containing details about funds received by political parties under the scheme, to the Election Commission.

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