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Congress president Sonia Gandhi. (PTI)
Congress president Sonia Gandhi. (PTI)

Congress calls for probe into electoral bonds scheme

  • Congress stages a walk-out from the Lok Sabha over the issue, accusing the Centre of making ‘government corruption official’
  • BJP refutes the allegations, and says ‘the alliance of the defeated and the dejected corrupt politicians’ do not want clean, tax-paid transparent money to fund elections

NEW DELHI : Mounting an attack on the central government over alleged corruption, the Congress on Thursday sought a joint parliamentary probe into the electoral bonds scheme, which it said encouraged “opaque" political donations.

The party staged a walk-out from the Lok Sabha over the issue, accusing the Centre of making “government corruption official".

Congress leader Manish Tewari raised the issue during Zero Hour, but his reference to the role of the Prime Minister’s Office prompted speaker Om Birla to turn off his microphone and ask another member to ask his question. This led to protests from Congress members. Party president Sonia Gandhi, who was in the House, left her seat and led the walkout. Tewari claimed that despite reservations expressed by the Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission, the government had gone ahead with the introduction of electoral bonds.

Later, at a press conference, Tewari said the party will continue to raise the issue in Parliament as it considered it to be a “threat to democracy".

The issue was raised by the Congress in the Rajya Sabha too, where its chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu, did not allow a discussion. This led to Congress leaders disrupting the House and demanding time for discussion. Naidu adjourned the House for an hour only to resume to a brief round of disruption again.

“The question is that there’s a perception that the system can be rigged and that undermines the faith of people in democracy...We demanded in the Lower House and the Upper House that there should be a full-fledged political discussion," Tewari told reporters.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party rebutted the allegations, and said “the alliance of the defeated and the dejected corrupt politicians" do not want clean, tax-paid transparent money to fund elections. “Electoral bonds brought in honest money in electoral politics. People who are revolting against electoral bonds have grown used to black money and believe in its usage during elections," BJP leader and Union minister Piyush Goyal said at a press conference here.

PTI contributed to this story.

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