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Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended political funding through electoral bonds, which were scrapped by India’s top court after it ruled that the opaque tool was unconstitutional.

The bonds eliminated cash and corruption in poll funding, Modi said in an interview with news agency ANI on Monday. People “will regret when there is honest reflection” as electoral bonds were meant to end unaccounted funds in elections, he said.

The Supreme Court of India banned all political funding through the anonymous donation instruments in February. The court said these bonds, which protected the identity of donors and their relationship with a particular political party, violated the right to information of citizens. 

Modi’s defense of the scrapped funding mechanism comes four days before federal elections begin in the country, where he is seeking a record third straight term in the office. India’s opposition has severely criticized the instrument and is trying rally public opinion around it. 

The bonds were a way to extort money, intimidate corporates, and force them to donate money to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, said Rahul Gandhi, a prominent opposition leader from the Congress party. 

The scrapped arrangement was a success as it left a trail of donations made by people and companies to political parties, Modi said. 

The prime minister also discussed the election campaign in southern India, the inauguration of the Ram temple, the mixing of region and religion in the country’s politics and his credentials for democratic rights. 


--With assistance from Swati Gupta.

(Updated with more details in the final paragraph)

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