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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

PM Modi running corruption franchise: Congress points 'hypocrisy' finger at anti-corruption crusade

While the Opposition parties described the electoral bond scheme as the 'biggest extortion racket' in the world, the Prime Minister tried to take credit for the system on the ground that it recorded donations to political parties and the people knew who paid whom

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 02.04.24, 06:11 AM
Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi. File picture

The Congress has firmly confronted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion on his “uncompromising crusade” against corruption by pointing to his “hypocrisy”, apart from using central agencies as instruments of extortion.

Rahul Gandhi led the rebuttal to Modi’s anti-corruption boast by saying: “The Prime Minister says he is fighting against corruption but he is distributing the franchise of corruption from Assam to Maharashtra.” The former Congress president was referring to Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who had been condemned as corrupt by Modi before he embraced them.

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Rahul said: “The leader who was described as a big corrupt by Modi was welcomed with a bigger red carpet in the BJP office. The BJP, which is using the ED, CBI and income tax department as wasooli agents, has become a den of the corrupt. The Modi government means a guarantee for the safety of the corrupt.”

While the Opposition parties described the electoral bond scheme as the “biggest extortion racket” in the world, the Prime Minister tried to take credit for the system on the ground that it recorded donations to political parties and the people knew who paid whom. Shocked by the Prime Minister’s reaction, Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh issued a statement saying: “Every single day the Prime Minister scales new heights of hypocrisy and plumbs new depths of dishonesty.”

Ramesh explained: “The Prime Minister has fully lied to the nation in his latest interview with a Tamil television channel. He claims that ‘where funds have come from, how they are being used’ is only known due to the electoral bond scheme he instituted. The electoral bond scheme was designed to be fully anonymous. Modi wanted to hide from the public the details of where funds have come from (to political parties), and how they are being used. For six years, between 2018 and 2024, not a single detail of which party got funds from which donor was revealed to the public.”

Arguing that the details came out only after the Supreme Court declared the scheme unconstitutional, Ramesh said: “Until the last day in court, the Modi government tried to defend the anonymity of the scheme. Finally, the Supreme Court demanded that the SBI publish the details of who donated to which party. Still, the remote-controlled SBI lied to the court, saying it did not collect this information. Then, it requested for three months’ time to collate the data, conveniently seeking an extension until after the election.”

Ramesh added: “As for the Prime Minister’s question of ‘what have I done that I should face a setback (due to electoral bonds)?,’ Mr Modi, the data has revealed your party and government’s monumental corruption. Rs 4 lakh crore worth of contracts, projects, and environmental clearances can be linked to thousands of crores in electoral bond donations made by corporate to your party. The Government of India has been reduced to a ‘Chanda Do-Dhanda Lo’ supermarket. At least 40 ED/IT/CBI raids on firms have been followed by hefty electoral bond donations by these firms to the BJP.”

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