Deccan Herald
New Delhi

Audit reports of only 8.23% registered unrecognised parties are available in the public domain, a study by election reform watchdog Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) has revealed. 

In its survey, ADR analysed the status of submission of annual audit and contribution reports of 270 registered unrecognised parties all over India including their election activity since 2017. These parties are from the five poll-going states of Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa for the financial year 2019-20. ADR said that 102 of the 270 parties did not contest any elections since 2017.

In its survey, ADR found that only 230 or 8.23% of India’s 2,796 registered unrecognised parties had submitted their annual audit reports. Of them, only 160 or 5.72% of the parties had made their annual contribution reports public.

“This report analyses the status of submission of annual reports of a total of 270 registered unrecognised parties all over India, whose either audit or contribution reports were available on the ECI website for the FY 2019-20. Out of these 270 unrecognised parties, the audit details of 40 parties are unavailable in the public domain for FY 2019-20,” the report said.

Political parties are completely exempted from paying Income Tax, whether they file tax returns to the IT Department of donations received above Rs 20,000 to the ED, or not.

“Out of these 270 unrecognised parties, the audit details of 40 parties are unavailable in the public domain for FY 2019-20. While for the remaining 230 parties, audit statements are either available on the state CEO website or were accessed through the RTI responses received,” the survey said.

There are 889 unrecognised political parties registered in the five states: Punjab (767), UP (66), Uttarakhand (37), Goa (10) and Manipur (9).

The 90 registered unrecognised parties of UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab whose audit reports were available declared a total income of Rs 840.25 lakhs; total expenditure declared was Rs 876.76 lakhs for 2019-20. During this period, these parties spent Rs 36.51 lakhs more than their total income for that year.

“The Jan Raajya Party of UP declared the highest income of Rs 338.01 lakhs while the total expenditure declared by the party was Rs 332.16 lakhs for the FY 2019-20. Anarakshit Samaj Party and Apna Dal (Soneylal) of UP declared the second (Rs 157.68 lakhs) and the third-highest income (Rs 76.05 lakhs) during this period,” the report said.

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, stipulates that a political party can be accorded recognised national party status if it wins 6% of votes in four states, or has four Lok Sabha MPs, or has a minimum of 2% votes polled in a general election from two states. A state party is recognised when it has three seats or 3% of votes in a state’s assembly, or 8% of the total votes in the Assembly, among other conditions.

According to the Election Commission of India’s gazette notification of September 23, 2021, there are a total of 2,858 political parties registered with the Commission. Of them, 2,796 or 97.83% are unrecognised Parties.

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