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The party received Rs 307.28 cr in the year, of which 94.73% was from unknown sources

With a 318 per cent rise in annual income in 2021-22, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the second richest regional party in the country, has accumulated around Rs 291 crore from unknown sources. As per the latest report of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), around 94.73 per cent of Rs 307.28 crore the regional party had earned in that financial year was from unknown sources and also the second highest among the regional parties in the country.

While the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) topped the chart with Rs 306 crore from unknown sources, the BJD was followed by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) at Rs 153 crore, YSR-Congress Rs 60 crore and JD (U) Rs 48.36 crore.

An analysis of the BJD’s audit reports and donations statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI) revealed that the sources remain largely unknown. At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organisations donating less than Rs 20,000 which is why a substantial amount of funds cannot be traced and are from unknown sources.

The ADR analysed the financial statements of 27 regional parties and declared a total income of Rs 1,165.57 crore in 2021-22. Of this, Rs 887.55 crore (around 76.14 per cent) was from unknown sources and only Rs 145.42 crore (around 12.48 per cent) was from known donors. Around Rs 132.605 crore (11.37 per cent) was from membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications and party levy, etc.

The BJD has declared around Rs 16.19 crore from other known sources, which include Rs 16.17 crore bank interest and Rs 11 lakh from other sources. It has, however, not declared any income from known sources. The TRS has the highest Rs 40.9 crore from known sources, followed by JDU Rs 33.25 crore and YSR-Congress Rs 20 crore.

Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that people or corporate groups can buy from a bank and give to a political party, which is then free to redeem for money. The Centre first introduced electoral bonds in January 2018.

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