New Delhi

The BJP accounted for 89% or Rs 290.22 crore of the donations made to political parties through electoral trusts in 2016-17, a report has revealed. Nine other parties received Rs 35.05 crore in total.

Electoral trusts are registered not-for-profit companies that facilitate “voluntary contributions” to a political party of the donor’s choice.

According to a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), nine registered electoral trusts disbursed donations worth Rs 637.54 crore to political parties between 2013 and 2017, while six others donated Rs 325.27 crore.

The report says that Prudent Electoral Trust disbursed Rs 252-22 crore to the BJP in 2016-17, which is 88.90% of the donations it received. The lowest disbursement by the trust were to the Aam Aadmi Party (Rs 1 crore) and the RLD (Rs 10 lakh). The Janta Nirvachak Electoral Trust disbursed 100% of the donations it received, that is Rs 25 crore, to the BJP.

The Prudent Electoral Trust received the highest donations — Rs 283.73 crore and distributed Rs 283.72 crore of that to six political parties, the report said.

An electoral trust is a Section 25 company or a non-profit company created for orderly receipt of voluntary contributions to political parties, registered under Section 29A of the Representation of People Act, 1951. The objective of the electoral trust is not to earn any profit or pass any direct or indirect benefit to its members or contributors.

The report revealed that only two individuals — Suresh Kotak and Analjit Singh — were among the donors in 2016-17, the rest being group entities. Kotak emerged as the fifth largest donor overall, donating Rs 18.5 crore to the Janta Nirvachak Electoral Trust, while Singh donated Rs 1 crore to the Prudent Electoral Trust.

The top 10 donors donated a total of Rs 190.60 crore to electoral trusts, forming 58.57% of the total donations received by the trusts during 2016-17.

According to the rules formulated by the central government, electoral trusts are required to donate 95% of their total income to registered political parties in a financial year.

The ADR has also suggested that at present names of electoral trusts do not indicate the name of the company or group of companies which set up the trusts. Therefore, in order to have greater transparency regarding details of corporates which fund political parties, “it would be ideal to include the name of the parent company in the name of the electoral trust”.

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