India’s most prominent political parties – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC), saw the highest growth in their annual incomes in the financial year 2018-19 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections of 2019.

The disclosure of this information comes from financial audit reports filed by the respective parties with the Election Commission of India (ECI), along with the figures from their previous audit reports compiled by election watchdog – Association for Democratic Reforms.

The BJP reported an income of Rs 2410 crore in 2018-19, nearly 135% more than its income in the previous financial year.

Congress reported Rs 918 crore of income in 2018-19, which is 361% more than its income in the previous financial year. The figures suggest that the Congress party, which had been reporting a drop in its annual incomes for four consecutive years, recovered financially.

The income of both the parties in 2018-19 was the highest they received in 18 years and 2018-19 saw the highest annual growth in their incomes.

Electoral bonds, which allow anonymous donations to political parties, were among the largest sources of income for these two parties. Over 60% of the BJP’s income came through electoral bonds, totalling to Rs 1451 crore.

Congress received Rs 383 crore through the same, accounting for nearly 42% of its total income.

In 2017-18, the year in which electoral bond scheme was announced, the BJP received 20% of its income, Rs 210 crore; while the Congress received just Rs 5 crore (2.5% of its income).

Annual audit reports for the year 2018-19, of all national parties, except the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), have been made available on the ECI’s website.

The BJP’s income of Rs 2410 crore is nearly 47% more than the combined income of the other national parties, Hindustan Times reported.

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