As state assembly elections approach, cash-starved Congress is planning a 40-day crowdfunding programme for resource mobilisation, reports Hindustan Times. According to the daily’s report, the move was approved during a meeting attended by senior party leaders of state and central level.

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an election and political party watchdog, has released its report on donations received by 31 regional parties and national parties for the year 2016-17.

The report highlights the difficulty the Congress has been facing in raising funds after it lost power to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In 2015-16 and 2016-17, the party has received far less funding than regional parties like the Shiv Sena and the Aam Aadmi Party put together.

The BJP and the Congress were almost equally placed in terms of donations received between 2004-05 and 2008-09, when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was in power.

Donations to the BJP were more than twice what the Congress got during the years when UPA was in power between 2009 and 2014. In the first three years of the Narendra Modi government (ADR only has data till 2016-17), donations to the BJP have risen to more than five times of what the Congress got.

While total donations received by the Congress in 2016-17 were less than what the Shiv Sena and the AAP got together, its total income was more than 3.5 times the income of these two regional parties.

Another interesting finding in the report is that, among the regional parties, the Samajwadi Party reported the highest revenue 2016-17, even though it was ranked fourth in terms of donations received.

Between 2013-14 and 2016-17, the BJP has quadrupled its lead over the Congress in terms of income. The Congress’s share in the total revenue of all political parties went below 30 per cent for the first time in 2014-15 and has been falling continuously since then.

A cash crunch is bound to have an adverse impact on the Congress’s ability to challenge the BJP in the 2019 elections, experts said. However, reports said, there is no evidence that suggests a linear relationship between election spending and poll performance.

The BJP spent only about 1.5 times more money than the Congress during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, yet it won 6.4 times more seats.

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