A recent report reveals how the Finance Ministry, led by late Arun Jaitley, flouted official regulations to enable the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to encash expired electoral bonds worth Rs 10 crore. This breach of protocol sheds light on systemic issues surrounding electoral funding and governmental oversight.

Government Intervention

The Union government intervened on the eve of the 2018 Karnataka assembly elections to ensure the redemption of expired electoral bonds purchased by the BJP. Despite the legally mandated 15-day period for bond encashment having elapsed, the Finance Ministry compelled the State Bank of India (SBI) to accept the bonds, circumventing established rules.

Violation of Electoral Bond Order

The Finance Ministry’s directive to the SBI constituted a violation of the electoral bond order, which stipulated specific windows for bond sales throughout the year. By creating an unauthorized “special” 10-day window for bond sale before the Karnataka elections, the government deviated from the prescribed regulatory framework, undermining transparency and accountability in electoral financing.

PMO’s Involvement

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) played a pivotal role in orchestrating the irregular sale of electoral bonds, requesting an additional window for bond purchase despite no provision for such an extension in existing regulations. This intervention raises concerns about undue political influence in electoral processes and the misuse of executive authority for partisan gains.

Impact on Democratic Principles

The Finance Ministry’s breach of official rules to facilitate the BJP’s redemption of expired electoral bonds undermines fundamental democratic principles, including fairness, integrity, and impartiality. Such actions erode public trust in the electoral system and jeopardize the credibility of political institutions.

Opaque Funding Mechanisms

Electoral bonds, characterized by their lack of transparency and accountability, have emerged as a favored tool for political parties to solicit funds discreetly. The disproportionate benefit received by the BJP through this opaque funding mechanism underscores the urgent need for comprehensive electoral finance reform.

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Saiba Verma, an accomplished editor with a focus on finance and market trends, contributes to Atom News with a dedication to providing insightful and accurate business news. Saiba Verma analytical approach adds depth to our coverage, keeping our audience well-informed.