The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) declared assets jumped by 627 per cent from Rs1.22 billion to over Rs8.93 billion between 2004-05 and 2015-16 financial years, according to an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

During the same period, the total assets of Congress increased from Rs1.67 billion to Rs7.58 billion, showing an increase of 353.41 per cent.

The report titled ‘Analysis of Assets and Liabilities of National Parties – FY 2004-05 to 2015-16’ was released on Monday by ADR and West Bengal Election Watch. Data from audited accounts submitted by seven political parties to the Income Tax Department and the Election Commission of India were used for the analysis.

Assets and liabilities declared by the BJP, Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) between 2004-05 and 2015-16 fiscals were taken into consideration for the report.

With regard to declaration of assets by the national parties, the analysis finds: “During 2004-05, the declared assets of BJP totalled Rs 1,220.93million, which increased by 627.15 per cent to Rs8,930.88 million during 2015-16.”

The average total assets declared by the seven national parties during 2004-05 were Rs610.62 million which increased to Rs3,880.45 million during 2015-16. The total assets of the CPM increased by 383.47 per cent (Rs900.55 million to Rs4,370.78 million) and of AITC from Rs2.5 million to Rs440.99 million (176 per cent).”

“Whenever there is an election, there is a sharp increase in assets. They start collecting money the year before. Political parties should be transparent in their political funding. The biggest challenge for the election system is money power,” Major-General Anil Verma (retd), head of National Election Watch/ADR, said, referring to the matter of issuance of electoral bonds for electoral funding.

The report said the CPM and AITC are the only two national parties to show a ‘steady increase’ in their annual declared assets.

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