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Electoral bonds world’s biggest extortion racket, money used to split parties: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi

THANE, MARCH 15: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the electoral bonds scheme was the world’s biggest extortion racket and a “brainchild” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking at a press conference here, Gandhi, who is on the last leg of his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, also claimed that the funds obtained through the scheme were used to split parties like the Shiv Sena and NCP and topple governments.
Congress’ central election committee and party president Mallikarjun Kharge would decide if he should contest the Lok Sabha election from Amethi, he said in reply to a question.
“Some years ago, the Prime Minister claimed to have designed the electoral bonds (scheme) to clean up the political finance system. It turns out that this was the way of extorting money from India’s largest corporates. It was meant to intimidate corporates into giving money to the BJP….It is the largest extortion racket in the world….I hope investigation takes place”, he said.
To a question about some companies donating electoral bonds to the Congress and getting contracts in the States run by the party’s Governments, Gandhi said none of the Governments run by opposition parties controlled contracts at the national level such as Highway and Defence contracts, nor did they control Central probe agencies like Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate or put ‘Pegasus’ (surveillance software) in people’s phones.
“There is no correlation between the contracts given in the States run by the Congress and the funding given to us….This is a criminal extortion from corporate India and every single corporate knows this. Months after contracts were given, the companies have donated electoral bonds to the BJP. CBI, ED file cases, and then corporates give money to the BJP”, he alleged.
The scheme was meant to allow corporates to donate money anonymously, Gandhi said.
“Some companies never donated money to the BJP (earlier) but after the CBI, ED cases were registered against them, they did”, the Congress leader claimed.
“It is a huge theft orchestrated by the Prime Minister”, he alleged, while also stating that “the electoral bonds scheme was the PM’s brainchild”. The BJP Government at the Centre captured national institutions for indulging in corruption, Gandhi said, alleging further that “funding for splitting parties like Shiv Sena and NCP, toppling opposition Governments, was obtained through electoral bonds”. Nothing can be more anti-national than this, the Congress leader said.
The ED and CBI have become BJP, RSS institutions, he claimed, adding that one day the BJP Government will be displaced and such activities will be punished. “This is my guarantee that such things will never happen again”, he said.
To a question about the recent exit of State Congress leaders Ashok Chavan and Milind Deora, he said the party in Maharashtra was intact despite their leaving.
Congress and its allies in Maharashtra will win Lok Sabha seats with record margins, Gandhi claimed.
When asked if he would contest from Amethi Lok Sabha seat, Gandhi said, “The central election committee and AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge will decide if I should contest from Amethi.” Gandhi had lost to Union Minister Smriti Irani in Amethi in 2019, but won from Wayanad in Kerala.
(PTI)

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