Ahead of the Bihar election, the government on Friday approved the 14th tranche of electoral bonds which will be open for sale between October 19 to October 28. The Election Commission of India (ECI) accorded 'no objection' from the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) angle on October 15 with certain conditions, a finance ministry statement said.
As per the ECI, "no political functionary shall make any reference in this regard during any public speech or communication to the press or public in the constituencies going for poll; and the relevant provisions of Model Code of Conduct issued by the Election Commission shall be strictly followed." The three-phased Bihar election will be held on October 28, November 3 and November 7.
Counting of votes will take place on November 10. Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding.
"State Bank of India, in the XIV phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through its 29 authorised branches from October 19 to October 28," the ministry said.
The 29 specified SBI branches are in cities such as Patna, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, Srinagar, Dehradun, Gandhinagar, Bhopal, Raipur, Mumbai, and Lucknow.
The sale of the first batch of electoral bonds took place from March 1-10, 2018. According to provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds can be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
Registered political parties that have secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last election of the Lok Sabha or legislative assembly are eligible to receive electoral bonds.
SBI is the only authorised bank to issue such bonds. An electoral bond will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue. No payment would be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period. The bond deposited by any eligible political party into its account would be credited on the same day.