New Delhi: Hitting back at the Congress over the issue of electoral bonds, the BJP on Thursday said "the alliance of the defeated and the dejected corrupt politicians" do not want clean, tax-paid transparent money to fund elections.
"Electoral bonds brought in honest money in electoral politics. People who are revolting against electoral bonds have grown used to black money and believe in its usage during elections," senior BJP leader and Union Minister Piyush Goyal said while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here.
"The allegations against the government over electoral bonds are baseless. The Modi government has, in fact, for the first time, taken a number of steps against corruption," he said. On the Election Commission's recommendation, the Narendra Modi government banned cash donations above Rs 2,000, he said.
The opposition Congress on Thursday protested in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, demanding that the government disclose all details about electoral bonds, alleging the scheme resulted in money laundering and destroyed transparency in the funding of political parties.
Describing electoral bonds as a "political bribery scheme", Congress leader Manish Tiwari said Right To Information (RTI) replies revealed the government had overruled serious objections by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to introduce electoral bonds, which allow anonymous funding to be funnelled to the coffers of political parties through bearer instruments issued by the State Bank of India (SBI).
Taking a swipe at the Congress, Goyal said that in some parties, leaders grew rich while the BJP used political funds for the right purpose only.
On a day the Congress accused the BJP of making "government corruption official" by bringing in the concept of electoral bonds, Goyal asked why the opposition had not refused funds donated to it through these bonds. He said the government took almost a year to address the concerns of the RBI and the EC over the issue of bonds, and expressed confidence the poll panel will now be satisfied after experiencing the transparency and honest money brought in political funding.
All the information about the electoral bonds are in public domain and can be accessed through Right To Information (RTI), he said, dismissing reports over the matter as "no new revelations".
To a question about the BJP drawing a huge share of corporate funding, Goyal said it is natural as the saffron party is much bigger than the Congress in its strength and many organisations also reject the "corrupt ideology" propagated by the opposition party.
The details of electoral bonds, including those of donors and donees, have been deliberately kept away from the public eye so that people can use them to donate to the party of their choice without fearing any harassment, Goyal said. He added that the Congress when in power used to go after those who donated money to the BJP through cheques. That is why the Modi government brought in electoral bonds and also banned donations in cash for more than Rs 2000 in its bid to curb the use of black money and usher in transparency, he added.
"We have ensured that the money going into politics is accounted," said Goyal, adding these bonds are non-transferable, can be redeemed only within 15 days, and be deposited to only a designated account of political parties. Only KYC-compliance entities can purchase these bonds, he added.
On the EC's recommendation, the government banned cash donations above Rs 2,000, he said.
(With inputs from agencies)