BJP receives biggest chunk of NBFC contributions via electoral bonds

The release of this data follows a recent SC directive asking the SBI to provide comprehensive details regarding electoral bonds

Representative image (photo: PTI)
Representative image (photo: PTI)

NH Business Bureau

The Bharatiya Janata Party garnered a staggering Rs 158 crore from prominent non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) through the purchase and encashment of electoral bonds between 12 April 2019 and 11 January 2024. The leading contributors to the party's coffers were Infina Finance and Piramal Enterprises, accounting for a substantial portion of the funds, a report published by Moneycontrol said.

In contrast, the All-India Trinamool Congress (TMC) received a modest Rs 89 lakh, while the All-India Congress Committee secured Rs 1 crore during the period, underscoring a significant imbalance in financial support among political entities.

The NBFCs involved in this controversial funding mechanism included well-known names such as Bajaj Finance, Muthoot Finance, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance, ECL Finance, and Infina Finance. Notably, these companies played a pivotal role in facilitating the flow of funds to political parties through the purchase and subsequent encashment of electoral bonds.

Further scrutiny of the data revealed intricate details of transactions. For instance, Bajaj Finance's acquisition of electoral bonds worth Rs 20 crore on 18 April 2019, saw immediate encashment by the BJP merely five days later.

Similarly, Muthoot Finance's purchase of Rs 3 crore worth of bonds on 16 April 2019 culminated in swift encashment by the ruling party. The data also unveiled a nexus between corporate entities and political affiliations, with conglomerates such as the Aditya Birla Group, Bajaj Group, and Bajaj Finserv channelling substantial sums to various political parties.

These donations, totalling Rs 11 crore, were directed towards entities like the Nationalist Congress Party, Aam Aadmi Party, and Janata Dal (Secular) in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The release of this data follows a recent directive from the Supreme Court to the State Bank of India to provide comprehensive details regarding electoral bonds, including unique bond numbers linking donors with recipient political parties. This move aims to enhance transparency and accountability in political financing, shedding light on the intricate web of corporate influence within the Indian political landscape.

As the nation grapples with the ramifications of these revelations, calls for greater transparency and regulatory oversight in electoral funding resonate louder than ever, signalling a pivotal moment in India's democratic journey.

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