‘What was wrong with the idea?’: Nitin Gadkari questions critics of electoral bonds | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

‘What was wrong with the idea?’: Nitin Gadkari questions critics of electoral bonds

By, New Delhi
Mar 18, 2024 08:13 AM IST

The ‘unconstitutional’ scheme was struck down by the Supreme Court on February 15.

Defending the contentious electoral bonds scheme for donating to political parties, which the Supreme Court ruled ‘unconstitutional’ and struck down on February 15, Union minister Nitin Gadkari pointed to what he said was the ‘idea’ behind electoral bonds, asking critics what was wrong with the idea.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari (HT File)
Union minister Nitin Gadkari (HT File)

“The idea was that parties would get money through bonds, helping push the economy to number one. What was wrong with that? It is a fact that parties need money to contest elections. Every party needs that (the money),” Gadkari told NDTV in an interview.

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Also, while the senior BJP leader declared he would not comment on the apex court's judgment, he remarked that there was another ‘drawback’ to withdrawing the scheme.

"If you disallow bonds, people will take money as ‘number two.’ Gadkari stated, referring to black money.

The Union transport minister also rejected the Opposition's charge of a ‘quid pro quo’ between the ruling BJP – the saffron party was the biggest beneficiary (and by a distance) with funds worth around 7000 crore – and the donating entities.

Also Read | Electoral bonds: Election commission's releases data. Which party received how much? 10 points

“Those wealthy would be contractors. Or those who have made it big in trade or industry. So, it is incorrect to claim quid pro quo,” the Nagpur MP said.

During the interview, Gadkari also dismissed a contention that electoral bonds can bring black money back into the system.

“How can money that creates growth, and generate revenue and employment, be ‘black’? The real problem is money that is taken outside the country but dumped elsewhere,” he shot back.

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The electoral bonds scheme was introduced by then finance minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2017, while the first tranche of bonds were made available in March 2018. The State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, was the entity responsible for issuing electoral bonds and keeping donors' details.

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