New Delhi

According to ADR data assessment, just 10 donors contributed over 50 per cent of political donations. About 90 per cent of all donations went to BJP.

New Delhi: Twenty-one electoral trusts heavily funded by the country’s top corporates gave more than Rs 290 crore to the BJP in 2016-17, and a mere Rs 16.5 crore to the Congress, according to a new data assessment by electoral watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Of this, Rs 190.60 crore was donated by just 10 donors, amounting to 58.57 per cent of the total donations received by the trusts during FY 2016-17. Over 90 per cent of these donations were made to the Prudent Electoral Trust, which gave 88 per cent of its funds to the BJP.

Electoral trusts are non-profit companies formed to collect and fund political parties.

Top donors

The top 10 donors to these electoral trusts were led by the real estate giant DLF, which was caught in a political controversy over a land deal with Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra, back in 2012. DLF donated Rs 28 crore, while its subsidiaries DLF Cyber City Developers Limited donated Rs 15 crore and DLF Commercial Developers Limited Rs 9 crore.

Steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Energy and the Shroff family’s United Phosphorus Limited each contributed Rs 25 crore. The Aditya Birla Group’s UltraTech Cement and Grasim were next, followed by the Essar Group, the Piramal Group, and Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Bharti Airtel.

Suresh Amritlal Kotak – the famed ‘cotton man’ of India – was the fifth largest donor, giving Rs 18.5 crore to the Janata Nirvachak Electoral Trust, which gave 100 per cent of its collection to the BJP. Kotak donated in an individual capacity, as did Max Group’s Analjit Singh, who donated Rs 1 crore.

Akhil Gupta, vice chairman at Mittal’s Bharti Group, is the only other name which appears as an individual donor, for giving Rs 2 crore during FY 2013-14.

Top trusts

The richest electoral trust by far is the Prudent Electoral Trust, earlier known as Satya Electoral Trust. It received Rs 283.73 crore in contributions, and distributed Rs 283.72 crore to six political parties, during FY2016-17.

Contributions received by Prudent Electoral Trust formed 87.18 per cent of the total amount donated to all electoral trusts during FY2016-17. But the top trust clearly favoured the BJP the most. Prudent Electoral Trust donated 88.90 per cent of its incoming contributions (or Rs 252.22 crore) to the BJP. The Congress got just Rs 14 crore from Prudent. The other parties that it donated to were Shiromani Akali Dal, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal.

In total, the BJP received Rs 290.22 crore, or 89.22 per cent of the total donations received by all parties from all trusts. Nine other political parties combined received only Rs 35.05 crore.

The Janata Nirvachak Electoral Trust donated the entire Rs 25 crore it received to the BJP. Two other electoral trusts were also exclusive to one political party each – Paribartan Electoral Trust to the All India Trinamool Congress (Rs 0.50 crore) and Triumph Electoral Trust to the Congress (Rs 0.1 crore).

The New Democratic Electoral Trust made two donations to the BJP (total Rs 11 crore) and one to the Shiv Sena (Rs 1 crore) during FY2016-17. Samaj Electoral Trust donated to BJP (Rs 2 crore), Congress (Rs 1.50 crore), Rashtriya Lok Dal (Rs 20 lakh), Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (Rs 15 lakh) and Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (Rs 10 lakh) during FY 2016-17.

AAP got a total of Rs 1 crore in 2016-17, while the Samajwadi Party got Rs 6 crore and the Akali Dal Rs 9 crore.

The bigger picture

Between FY2013-14 and 2016-17, nine registered electoral trusts donated a total of Rs 637.54 crore to political parties. From a figure of Rs 85.37 crore in FY2013-14, total donations rose to 177.40 crore in FY 2014-15, fell to Rs 49.50 crore in 2015-16, and rose again to Rs 325.27 crore in 2016-17,

There was also a clear bias towards national parties. Five national parties received 92.30 per cent (Rs 588.442 crore) of the total donations from electoral trusts, while 16 regional parties received only Rs 49.093 crore between FY2013-14 and FY2016-17.

The BJP and the Congress are the only two political parties to receive donations from electoral trusts in every financial year.

Over the course of this four-year period, a staggering Rs 488 crore went to the BJP, while the Congress received Rs 86 crore. The Shiromani Akali Dal raised Rs 11 crore, Sharad Pawar’s NCP Rs 10 crore, and the Aam Aadmi Party Rs 4 crore.

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