Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Sunday said the government’s proposed electoral bonds scheme will make political funding less transparent, The Times of India reported. Electoral bonds are used to donate money to political parties, and under the new rules, they do not need to provide details on those making the donations. In the 2017-18 Budget, the government had proposed an amendment to the RBI Act to allow such bonds to be issued.
“The recent amendments to Representation of the People Act have affected transparency [in political funding],” said Zaidi, who will complete his term on July 5. “Contribution reports of political parties need not mention names and addresses etc of those contributing by way of electoral bonds. We have written [to the government] that this way parties will never file contributions received through electoral bonds.. And if the commission will never get to know of that contribution — and EC regularly displays such information on its website — the people will also not get to know.”
The government believes these bonds will allow large donations to be made through normal banking channels while allowing donors to remain anonymous. Of this, Zaidi said, “I cannot comment on their argument. From our angle, from the viewpoint of the political parties as well as the people, one has every right to know who has contributed to the political parties.”
When asked about Aam Aadmi Party’s allegations of bias against the EC and their sustained attack on EVM tampering issue, Zaidi said EC has always gone by constitutional norms and acted fairly.
“The EVM issue, I think it is closed,” he said. “Over a period of three months, we gave opportunity to all stakeholders to show us evidence of alleged tampering. But nobody came forward and said they only had an academic interest. What more we could have done?”