Business Standard, June 14, 2008
The BJP appeared to be on the defensive after news reports that it had accepted donations from Dow Chemicals, the company which had taken over Union Carbide, implicated in the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the party was going into the details of the donation. “In most cases donations have been accepted on the face value and we have not verified who signed the cheque,” he said.
After the incident came to light, Rudy said, the party would put in place a system to check the background of donors to avoid such embarrassment in the future.
Earlier, documents made public under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had revealed that the party took $ 2,500 from Dow Chemicals. The information was disclosed by the Election Commission. Incidentally, the BJP is one of the first parties to accept donations only by cheques.
Nearly 3,000 people had died when the deadly methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal in December 1984.
There have been nearly 15,000 deaths related to the incident since then.
Senior party leader M Venkaiah Naidu said the party was verifying if the donation was by Dow Chemicals and that even if it was the case, it would not affect the party’s resolve to get justice for the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.