The Election Commission’s publication of information on Thursday about the electoral bond scheme that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional on March 15 has fueled a controversy about potential quid pro quos between donors and the political parties that received them.

As the data became public, social media platforms were filled with sparking memes and satires alongside the serious analysis.

Electoral bonds were monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups could buy from the State Bank of India and give to a political party. The entire process is anonymous since buyers are not required to declare their purchases and political parties did not need to show the source of the money. The scheme was the brainchild of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Several entities that bought these bonds around the time they were facing action from investigative agencies.

A total of 22,217 electoral bonds were purchased and 22,030 were redeemed by political parties between April 1, 2019, and February 15, 2024, State Bank of India said in an affidavit on March 14. It made separate lists of the donors who bought the bonds as well as political parties who have benefited from the scheme, along with the date and denomination of how much they have redeemed.

However, the bank did not mention the unique serial numbers of the bonds that would link the identities of the purchasers to its recipients. The Supreme Court has since directed the bank to disclose the unique codes. The matter will be heard on Monday.

Cartoonists weighed in on the missing link.

One social media user riffed off a misaligned road bridge in Mumbai.

The relative silence of television channels drew some attention.

Some suggested that recent announcements be it that about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and fuel prices being slashed were an attempt to create a distraction.

Cartoonist Sajith Kumar lauded the State Bank of India for its dubious role in the matter.

Satirist Anurag Verma chipped in with this rationalisation for why the scheme was not so bad, after all.

But what left many puzzled was how several companies reporting losses for a few years managed to invest in electoral bonds.

In the end, what many concluded was the fact that all major political parties have benefited from the scheme.