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A Torrent of interest in Electoral Bonds from Gujarat


So, how did Gujarat fare in the Electoral Bonds list?

Based on the figures released by the Election Commission on the night of March 14, many of Gujarat's top firms have donated to political parties through them.

Leading companies from the state who made it include Torrent Group, Zydus, Intas and Alembic. Two-other big names were Arvind and Nirma.

As per the list, pharmaceutical firms and power companies affiliated with the Torrent Group are biggest bond purchasers from Gujarat. They bought bonds worth Rs 184 crore.

The Welspun Group invested Rs 55 crore, Intas Group Rs 20 crore, Zydus Group Rs 29 crores, the Arvind Group Rs 16 crores, Nirma Group Rs 16 crores and Alembic Group Rs 10 crores.

Earlier a report titled Analysis of Donations received by National Parties – 2013-14, released by National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms, had named the Torrent Group and Cadila Healthcare Ltd as among the top donors from Gujarat to the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) respectively.

"Discovering the names of a few Gujarat-based corporate houses on the electoral bonds list is hardly unexpected or startling. These entities have been known to support political parties financially for decades, with their contributions rising over the years. What is notable is their consistent allegiance to the ruling parties. Historically, they have favored the party in power with substantial donations, a trend that continues with their involvement in electoral bonds," an expert who follows the money trail in stock markets for a living said.

He went on to add that "what is truly surprising and concerning is the revelation that these companies, which are known to have made substantial cash contributions according to political insiders, have only disclosed a fraction of their contributions through electoral bonds."

"The intended objective of cleansing the black economy via electoral bonds appears to have failed, as both shell companies and those with dubious backgrounds have managed to channel their donations through legitimate means. Genuine donors, to protect themselves, seem to have opted to declare only a portion of their contributions. This indicates a significant expansion of the black economy in recent years," he noted.

Dilip Patel, a seasoned journalist hailing from Gujarat, shared the observation that "the Torrent company which has purchased the largest quantity of electoral bonds from among companies in Gujarat has a consistent track record of aligning itself with the sitting Chief Minister of the state. It's origins trace back to the tenure of Congress Chief Minister Chimanbhai Patel when Chimanbhai Patel's Government sold the British government-established entity, Ahmedabad Electricity Company Limited (AEC), to Torrent. This company's allegiance has historically been with the ruling party. During Congress rule, it supported the party, and now, with the change in government, it stands in favor of the BJP."