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28.02.2020
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An analysis of donations above Rs 20,000 received by political parties for the financial year 2018-19 shows that the BJP received more than three times the aggregate donations received by other national parties. During the period under consideration, the BJP received Rs 742.14 crore, almost five times that of the Indian National Congress that received Rs 148.58 crore, a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) revealed. 

The number of donations given to the BJP stood at 4,483—more than seven times the donations received by the Congress that had 605 donations. 

Besides the BJP and the Congress, the national parties include the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).

The due date for submission of the contributions report to the Election Commission of India was September 30, 2019, and only BSP, INC, NCP and AITC submitted their reports on time with the BJP submitting it last—31 days after the said deadline. 

The BSP did not receive a single donation over Rs 20,000 in 2018-19—just as it has not in the last 13 years since the party had been submitting its details. 

Compared to the previous financial year 2017-18, the total donations to the parties as a whole has increased by 103 per cent. Of this, the biggest leap came for the Congress, which increased its donations by 457 per cent, while the BJP saw an increase of 70 per cent. 

A state-wide look at the donations to the parties shows that Maharashtra led the list of donors, followed by Delhi and Gujarat. Overall, more than nine in 10 donations (92.06 per cent) were made by corporate/business sectors. Of this, the largest chunk went to the BJP which got Rs 698.092 crore, five and a half times more than what was received by the Congress (Rs 122.5 crore). It is noteworthy that the average size of a single corporate/business donation to the Congress was around Rs 1 crore, while for the BJP it was only around Rs 44 lakh.

To both the parties, the biggest donation came from the Progressive Electoral Trust owned by the Tata Group. The third national party to benefit from the trust’s donation was the Trinamool Congress.

The ADR report observes that of the seven national parties, four (BJP, Congress, CPI and CPI(M)) have not declared the PAN details of 1,300 donations—a five-time rise compared to the details furnished in 2017-18. The BJP is the top defaulter in this with 1,170 donations without PAN details, while at the second spot is the CPI that has not furnished PAN details of 81 donors. 

The BJP also declared 452 donations of Rs 514.48 crore, the Trinamool Congress 89 donations of Rs 44.26 crore and the Congress 51 donations of Rs 4.51 crore, with incomplete cheque/DD details where cheque number, bank details on which it was drawn and the date on which the cheque was received/encashed were 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," read the report. The BJP has not mentioned the name of the donor for 164 donations of Rs 2.34 crore. 

The CPI and the CPI(M) have also not declared the details of cheque and DD (cheque number, bank on which it was drawn and the date) for a total of 66 donations of Rs 78 lakh and 31 donations of Rs 35.63 lakh respectively.

The report also notes, “…it is found that the total sum of donations declared by the Congress in its contributions report is incorrect. It is found that the total declared (Rs 146.78 crore) by the party is Rs 1.80 crore less than the actual amount (Rs 148.58 crore). This reinforces our demand for proper scrutiny of the parties’ audited accounts by the IT department."

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