62 percent jump in electoral bonds sales, says RTI
An article carried by the lThe Times of India mentions government response to an RTI query confirming a rise in the sale of electoral bonds by 62 percent between April 2018 and March 2019. SBI sold bonds worth over Rs 1,700 crores between the financial year 2018-19.
Transparency in political party funding is vital for a transparent and vibrant democracy but has remained a thorny issue with almost all political parties as they remain opaque about disclosing the sources of party funding. The reason is electoral bonds. These financial instruments may be legally purchased by any registered ‘citizen’ of India or a registered business entity through authorized banks.
As per Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951), only those political parties are authorized to receive such bond payments which have received at least 1 percent votes in the previous House of Representative or state assembly elections. Once purchased, the bonds remain valid for 15 days, and the receiving political party can encash it through a bank account in an authorized bank.
The central government notified scheme on electoral bonds has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
PM Modi accuses Congress of coining ‘Hindu terror’
PM Modi speaking today at a campaign rally in Wardha, Maharashtra castigated the Congress for coining the term ‘Hindu terror’ and tarnishing the reputation of the entire community, reports Times of India.
In a sharp attack on the Congress, the PM referred to the recent acquittal of those charged for the Samjhauta Express train blast, all of whom were from the Hindu community.
Taking a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, PM Modi said he was scared of losing the Amethi seat and was, therefore, seeking a safe seat in Wayanad in Kerala, which has a high concentration of minority voters.
The PM didn’t spare NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar saying he avoided contesting this time as he realized the wind was blowing the other way.
Navjot Sidhu remains Congress’s star crowd puller
Ex-cricketer and Congress politician Navjot Singh Sidhu remain the star crowd puller for his party. Known for his one-liner ‘Sidhuisms,’ he continues to regale people at rallies with his acerbic sense of humour where he lampoons one and all from the opposition. The crowds love his rallies and flock in large numbers once they get wind of his presence. The biggest gainer, of course, is his party and they continue bringing him on to the stage at maximum campaign rallies.
Supreme Court pulls up Assam govt on illegal immigrants
The Supreme Court of India today took the Assam government to task questioning its lackadaisical attitude in missing court proceedings related to tracing illegal migrants in the state. The court came down hard on the absent Assam Chief Secretary mandating him to be present from the next hearing on 08 April and not to return to Assam unless permitted by the court.
The apex court asked the counsel representing the Assam government how it planned to go about identifying illegal immigrants in the state and what it had done in the past five years to trace out the estimated 70,000 illegals living there, as per the Home Ministry report.