A study conducted by an independent think tank has revealed that the Congress party received over 4,000 crore between 2005-05 and 2014-15. Around 83 per cent of this amount, the think tank says, came from unknown donors. According to the think tank, all parties in the country got around $1 billion (Rs 6,800 crore) from unknown sources in these 11 years.

Interestingly, Congress remained in power for most of these years. This points towards possible misuse of office by the party. The party did not provide details of 83 percent donors either to the Election Commission (EC), or to the Income-Tax (I-T) department, and listed them as unknown.

Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party did not declare a single donor. The party exploited a clause in the Representation of the People Act which makes it non-mandatory for political outfits to reveal donors if individual contributions fall below Rs 20,000. Aam Aadmi Party, which claims to have the most transparent donation system, received 57 per cent fund from unknown sources. Around 65 per cent of BJP’s fund came from unknown sources. Over 94 per cent of the Samajwadi Party’s income came from unknown sources.

According to the think tank, Association for Democratic Reforms, this study is based on audited accounts and contribution statements that the parties provided to the EC and the I-T department. Catch News reported that 12 of the 51 regional parties in the country have never filed contribution reports since 2004-05. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi supporting EC recommendations to bring an end to donation from unknown sources, there is hope that the government will initiate electoral reforms to make funding transparent.

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