Congress MPs stage protest in Parliament against electoral bonds, say 'PM must speak up '

New Delhi [India], Nov 22 (ANI): Congress party on Friday staged a protest near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament against alleged lack of transparency in electoral bonds and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's explanation over reports claiming that the BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of this scheme.

Senior Congress leaders Manish Tiwari, Shashi Tharoor, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Karti Chidamabrarm among others were present during the protest. The Congress leaders were holding placards reading, "New name of corruption is electoral bonds, speak up Prime Minister, Rs 6,000 crore for BJP? Ambani or Adani, transparency in electoral bond."

"Our demand is very simple that the list of donors should be made public. If the government says that they have electoral bonds of usher in transparency then the list of the same needs to be made public. The apex court has directed that Election Commission must obtain from all political parties the complete list of electoral bonds by May 30. As per media reports, the BJP has still not submitted the list," Congress MP Manish Tiwari said while speaking to media.

"If Piyush Goel and his colleagues who keep shooting the breeze, do believe that the electoral bonds are usher in transparency then they need to tell the Election Commission and make clear the names of the donors in public," he added.

Another leader, Tharoor said that the Congress party has been saying since long that there is something "wrong" with electoral bonds. "We have been saying that there is something wrong in electoral bonds. Only those who get it are happy. Why the electoral bond policy which should only be confined to Lok Sabha was extended to Assembly," he said.

"There should be transparency in electoral bond. The government shall make a joint parliamentary committee, there should be a good debate and discussion on the issue. Political parties can get funds but it should be cleared from where they come," another Congress MP said.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram' son Karti Chidambaram said that the government and the Prime Minister should clarify who contributed particularly to the ruling party.

"There must be transparency in the entire electoral bond process. Only banks and government know who are purchasing electoral bonds. The news reports suggest that BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of this programme. There is a need to find out whether people who have contributed are getting any benefit from the government."

The Congress had alleged that corruption has been covered up through electoral bonds scheme and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had floated a request to issue "illegal" electoral bonds ahead of Karnataka assembly elections in 2018.

Yesterday, Congress MPs had staged a walkout from Lok Sabha alleging lack of transparency in electoral bonds after party leader Manish Tewari raised the issue and said that the decision has institutionalised "government corruption."

Electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.

Only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the state shall be eligible to receive the electoral bonds.

The bonds shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorised bank. (ANI)