The sale of electoral bonds ahead of Karnataka Assembly elections increased nine times from the previous polls in the state in 2018, The Indian Express reported, citing a Right to Information reply.

The State Bank of India had opened the sale of electoral bonds for funding political parties from April 3 to April 12 at its 29 authorised branches. The Assembly polls in the southern state will take place on May 10 and the counting of votes will take on May 13.

Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from a bank and give to a political party, which is then free to redeem them for money. The Centre had first introduced electoral bonds in January 2018.

Last month, 1,470 electoral bonds worth Rs 970.50 crore were sold in the run up to the Assembly polls in Karnataka, the State Bank of India said in its Right to Information reply to transparency campaigner Commodore Lokesh Batra, reported the newspaper.

It was a sharp increase from the sale of 256 electoral bonds worth Rs 114.90 crore in April 2018 when the polls took place in the state last time.

Nearly 58% of the total bonds sold this year worth Rs 565.79 crore were encashed in Delhi.

The State Bank of India branch in Hyderabad recorded the most sales of electoral bonds ate Rs 335.30 crore, followed by Kolkata at Rs 197.40 crore, Mumbai at Rs 169.37 crore, Chennai at Rs 122 crore and Delhi at Rs 55.65 crore.