First time voters, NYAY, Rafale and Electoral Bonds | LokSabhaElections2019

In the past one week, many developments took place in the Indian political arena.

Some notable among those are:

The first phase of voting for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 took place in 20 states and Union territories took place on April 11, 2019.

The voters went to the polling booths with the promises made in the election manifestos of the two main national parties the INC and the BJP.

The Indian National Congress’s NYAY remained a talking point among voters.

The party’s NYAY (Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme’ or MIGS, formally called Nyuntam Aay Yojana or NYAY) promises ‘five crore ‘poorest families’ covering 25 crore people a guaranteed minimum income of Rs. 6,000 per month or Rs. 72,000 a year.

The Indian National Congress said the scheme is doable and hence it will fulfill it, and other promises made in it manifesto rather easily. The party released its manifesto prominently. Its leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, kept on repeating their commitment to the manifesto in their election rallies.

The BJP, on contrary, released its manifesto without much fanfare. Its star campaigners, including the present prime minister, are not talking about BJP manifesto 2019 (or NDA manifesto 2019) either. The party has decided to talk about and pinpoint the weaknesses in the Congress manifesto instead. For instance, in his recent rallies, post the first phase of voting, the present prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi tried to link the INC’s NYAY employment income guarantee scheme with a counter question: … Who will do NYAY with the 1984 Sikh Riots and Bhopal Gas Tragedy?

Mr. Modi also seemed thoroughly convinced by the effectiveness of such linkages and three word constructions among his voters. A day before the first phase of voting, he asked the First time voters to vote for the BJP in the name of the CRPF soldiers who died in a terror attack in Pulwama. He also asked these 18-24 year olds to vote for him and his party in the name of surgical strikes. Whether or not, the first time voters will vote on Pulwama and surgical strikes, only time will tell. But by linking Pulwama, surgical strikes with votes, Mr. Modi has surely raised a counter question among these voters:  How do votes link with Pulwama, surgical strikes  etc.?… OR

If such linkages do convert into votes, then what is the guarantee that some clever party doesn’t create such incidents to gain votes both in present and future?

Just a day before the first voting, the Supreme Court of India reopened the Rafale case. A three judge Supreme Court bench wants to look into the “Rafale Documents” which till now were NOT made public for reasons other than the pricing.

Day before yesterday, the Electoral bonds became a talking point when the Supreme Court directed the political parties to submit details of donations through electoral bonds.

Electoral Bonds are the bonds received by a political party. A donation made through an electoral bond does not contain the donor name and only mentions the party name for which the donation is meant. The recipient party deposits the bond in the bank account specified for the purpose.

It must be noted that electoral bonds bring in significant electoral funding to major political parties. In addition, large funding Rs. 3 Lakhs and above is made through electoral bonds. The party in power gets majority of the funding. By removing the name of the donor in such electoral bonds is in interest of the political parties. Although it would be difficult for the Supreme Court to get the names of such donors, the Court’s insistence on it brought the subject of electoral funding back in news.