In the absence of income declarations by the BJP and Congress, the CPM has emerged as the national party with the highest income of Rs 107.48 crore during 2015-16.

This accounts for 53.34% of the total income declared by four national parties – the AITC, CPM, BSP and the CPI – to the election commission, a report by election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows.

The Nationalist Congress Party, on the other hand, spent the most – even more than it earned in the financial year. The party has informed the Election Commission (EC) that it spent 19% over its total income during this period. The party’s expenses – at Rs 10.84 crore – outran its income of Rs 9.14 crore.

Both the BJP and the Congress have failed to file their annual reports to the EC even six months after the last date, the ADR said. The ruling party had the highest income in 2014-15.

In 2014, the EC had made it mandatory for recognised parties to submit details of their audited reports on a yearly basis.

As per the income details filed by national parties, the BSP comes second with a declared income of Rs 47.385 crore while the AITC occupies the third spot with Rs 34.578 crore. They are followed by the NCP, with Rs 9.14 crore, and the CPI with Rs 2.176 crore. These five parties have declared a total income of Rs 200.76 crore, collected from all over India.

The parties have also declared their total spending from this income to the election commission. While most have spent a portion of their earnings, the NCP is the only party that spent more than it earned.

The BSP claimed to have spent only 25% – or Rs 11.90 crore – of the total income, while the AITC said it incurred an expenditure of only 39% (Rs 13.35 crore).

The BJP’s income of Rs 970.43 crore during FY 2014-15 was the highest among all the national parties. However, it is yet to submit its copy of income tax returns for FY 2015-16 to the commission.

Between 2014-15 and 2015-16, the AITC’s income increased by 180.68% while that of the NCP decreased by 86.49%. The BSP also showed a slump in its earnings by 57.68%.

As per the ADR report, the total income of political parties from known donors was Rs 4.75 crore, which is 2.37 % of the total income of these five national parties. The income of political parties from other known sources (sale of assets, membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.) is Rs 134.35 crore or 66.92% of the total income.

At a time when the government is trying to usher in transparency by introducing electoral reforms such as bonds to check the flow of illegal money into political funding, the ADR report found that among unknown sources of funding, maximum funds were collected under ‘voluntary contributions’ by the five national parties. “A total of Rs 37.565 crore was collected under voluntary contributions, which formed 60.92% of the total income from unknown sources of the national parties,” the ADR pointed out.

The second-most preferred unknown source of funding was “miscellaneous income”, under which these parties collected a total of Rs 15.89 crore.

“The BSP has not declared any income under voluntary contributions, miscellaneous income, or collection from sale of coupons/publications,” the ADR said.

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