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New Delhi: The majority of electoral bonds sold in April were encashed in Hyderabad. Out of Rs 648 crore worth of bonds sold as part of the 20th tranche of the scheme from April 1 to April 10, around Rs 425 crore worth of bonds were sold from Hyderabad’s State Bank of India (SBI) branch, The Hindu has reported based on a reply to Right to Information (RTI) query.
This is due to the speculation doing rounds last month in Telangana that the state may head to early elections, whose term is till January 2024. However, chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao later dismissed the talk of early polls.
In response to RTI activist Kanhaiya Kumar’s query, the SBI on Thursday, May 12, said that after Hyderabad Rs 100 crore worth of bonds were sold in the Chennai branch. The rest of the bonds were sold in Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi and Panaji branches.
Kumar told The Hindu that since TRS has its bank account in Hyderabad while national parties, BJP and Congress, have their accounts in Delhi, Telangana’s ruling party may have been the beneficiary of the bonds encashed in Hyderabad. However, he also added the caveat that it cannot be said with certainty given that the electoral bond scheme provides for anonymous donations to parties.
The last time when electoral bonds were sold was during January when the election campaign was in full swing for Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand elections. At that time Rs 1,213 crore worth of electoral bonds were sold.
Kumar had revealed that electoral bonds sold from January 1 to January 10 were almost double when compared to those sold in the April 2021 Assembly polls, based on the response he had received to another RTI query.