New Delhi: The BJP received Rs 742 crore in donations during the 2018-19 fiscal year, an increase of 70% compared to the previous year, a report compiled by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has found. The donations declared by the BJP is three times the aggregate of donations received by five other national parties.
The BJP received donations worth Rs 437.04 crore during 2017-18, which rose to Rs 742.15 in the last year. During the period the donations were assessed, national parties declared a total of Rs 951.66 crore received in donations, with the BJP’s donations accounting for almost 78% of the total.
In the same period, the Congress received donations worth Rs 148 crore, submissions made by the parties before the Election Commission show. The Congress’s donations increased from Rs 26 crore during 2017-18 to Rs 148.58 crore during 2018-19, a rise of 457%, ADR said, adding the party’s donations had decreased by 36% between 2016-17 and 2017-18.
“A total of Rs 742.15 crore was declared by the BJP from 4,483 donations while the INC (Indian National Congress) declared receiving Rs 148.58 crore from 605 donations,” ADR said in a statement.
The report focussed on donations of Rs 20,000 and above.
On the other hand, the donations declared by the BJP is more than three times the aggregate of donations declared by the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and the Trinamool Congress during the same period.
The statement said, “1,575 donations from corporate/business sectors were made to BJP (Rs 698.092 crore) while 2,741 individual donors donated Rs 41.70 crore to the party during FY 2018-19.”
“The INC received a total of Rs 122.5 crore via 122 donations from corporate/business sectors and Rs 25.39 crore via 482 individual donors during FY 2018-19.”
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) declared that it did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during FY 2018-19, as it has been declaring for the past 13 years.
The Progressive Electoral Trust donated Rs 455.15 crore to the BJP, Congress and Trinamool Congress together and is one of the top two donors to the three parties that received the maximum donations.
The Trust donated Rs 356.535 crore to the BJP (48.04% of total funds received by the party) and Rs 55.629 crore to the Congress (37.44%)
The BJP and INC received Rs 67.25 crore (9.06%) and Rs 39 crore (26.25%), respectively from the Prudent Electoral Trust.
The statement added that the BJP declared 452 donations of Rs 514.48 crore, the Trinamool Congress collected 89 donations of Rs 44.26 crore and the Congress received 51 donations of Rs 4.51 crore having incomplete cheque/DD details where cheque number, bank details on which it was drawn and the date on which the cheque was received/ encashed is not provided.
“Thus, without the complete cheque/DD details, it would be a time consuming process to link the donors against their donations and hence trace the money trail,” it added. For the past few years, the association has flagged the concern that political parties, while submitting details about the donations to the Election Commission, have not been fulfilling the mandatory condition of disclosing the PAN details and addresses of the donors.
A previous report compiled by ADR also showed that the BJP received the bulk of corporate donations during the years 2016-17 and 2017-18. As The Wire had reported then, of the Rs 1059.25 crore received by six national parties from voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000, the BJP accounted for Rs 915.59 crore.
The Congress was a distant second, with Rs 55.36 crore received from 151 corporate donors. During the two-year period, the report said that the BJP and Congress’s voluntary contributions above Rs 20,000 from corporate or business houses were 94% and 81% respectively. On the other hand, the CPI received the lowest share of corporate donations, at just 2%.
There is great secrecy concerning electoral trusts, through which most corporate funds flow to political parties. Rules formulated by the Centre stipulate that electoral trusts donate 95% of their total income to registered political parties in a financial year.
ADR has in the past said that names of some electoral trusts do not indicate the name of the company/ group of companies which set up the trusts and has said it would ideal to include the name of the parent company in the name of the trust to have greater transparency.
(With PTI inputs)