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Political Economy

BJP Raised Rs 800 Crore Before LS Polls, Tata Group Biggest Donor

The donations do not include funding for political parties via electoral bonds.

New Delhi: The BJP’s submissions to the Election Commission of India has revealed that in the financial year 2019, the party raised Rs 800 crore before the Lok Sabha elections in May while the Congress party raised Rs 146 crore, according to a report in Business Today.

Hindustan Times has, however, reported that the party received Rs 743 crore in donations above Rs 20,000 in the financial year 2018-19.

The single largest donation – around 55.5% or Rs 356 crore – came from the Tata group’s Progressive Electoral Trust. The Tatas-controlled trust was also the largest donor to the Congress party and had given Rs 55 crore as donation.

The Prudent Electoral Trust, funded by Bharti Airtel, DLF and Hero group, was the second biggest donor to both with donations totalling Rs 67 crore and Rs 39 crore to the BJP and Congress respectively.

Some of the other donor trusts that donated to the BJP include Harmony Group (Rs 10 crore), Triumph Electoral Trust (Rs 5 crore), Janhit Electoral Trust (Rs 2.5 crore) and New Democratic Electoral Trust (Rs 2.5) in addition to ITC (Rs 13 crore), Hero group (Rs 12 crore), Nirmal (Rs 5 crore), Pragathi group (Rs 3.25 crore), Micro Labs (Rs 3 crore), BK Shirke Construction Technology (Rs 15 crore) and Edi Enterprises (Rs 10 crore).

Also read: Electoral Bonds Worth Over Rs 3,600 Crore Sold in March, April 2019: RTI Response

Political parties are mandated to disclose the details of all donations they receive that exceed Rs 20,000. However, funding for political parties via electoral bonds is not included in the donations.

A Right to Information (RTI) request from the State Bank of India (SBI) in May this year had revealed that electoral bonds worth Rs 3,622 crores were sold in just two months right before the Lok Sabha elections – April 2019 (Rs 2,256.37 crores) and May 2019 (Rs 1,365.69 crores).

As many as 12,313 electoral bonds worth Rs 6,128 crore were sold by the State Bank of India, the only entity authorised to sell them in the country, between March 2018 and October 2019, an analysis by election watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) had previously revealed.