The Indian Express
New Delhi

While the contribution of Prudent Electoral Trust to political parties declined by over 9 per cent as it donated Rs 245.7 crore this financial year, compared to Rs 271 crore in the 2019-20 financial year, its share for the Congress party dipped by more than 93 per cent, dropping from Rs 31 crore last year to just 2 crore this fiscal, an analysis of its contribution submitted to the Election Commission shows.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too saw a decline in donation by more than 84 per cent as its share fell from Rs 11.2 crore last year to just 1.7 crore this year.

The share of Prudent Trust – the richest electoral trust and one of the BJP’s biggest funders since 2013-14 – for the saffron party rose marginally by 2 per cent at Rs 209 crore, compared to Rs 203 crore in the last fiscal. This amounted to 85 per cent of its entire donation as compared to 74 per cent last year.

According to the contribution for FY 2020-21, the Janata Dal (United) received Rs 25 crore and is the second largest beneficiary of contributions made by the trust. It also donated Rs 5 crore to the NCP and Rs 2 crore to the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Interestingly, it dropped a few political parties from its list of beneficiaries this fiscal, including the Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, Samajwadi Party and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) and LJP. These parties had received donations last year.

The Prudent Electoral Trust is among the largest electoral trusts in India with nearly over 90 per cent of all corporate donations to electoral trusts going into its kitty.

Among its major contributors are Future Gaming and Hotel Services, infrastructure firm Megha Engineering and Infrastructures India Ltd, Bharti Airtel, Bharti Infratel and Phillips Carbon Black. It raised Rs 100 crore from Future Gaming and Hotel Services, Rs 25 crore from Haldia Energy India Ltd, Rs 22 crore from Megha Engineering, Rs 15 crore from Bharti Airtel, Rs 10 crore from Bharti Infratel and Rs 20 crore each from Phillips Carbon Black and Torrent group companies.

An analysis of the trust’s contributions over the past five years shows that the BJP has received the maximum contribution among political parties while the Congress’ share has significantly declined.

In FY 2016-17, Prudent Trust’s (then known as Satya Electoral Trust) contribution to political parties rose significantly to Rs 283.7 crore. It donated 88.9 per cent or Rs 252.22 crore to BJP, while the Congress received only Rs 14 crore. The contributions received by Prudent Electoral Trust formed 87.18 per cent of the total amount donated to all electoral trusts during FY 2016-17, according to the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

ADR noted that between 2016 and 2018, Prudent Trust, which donates to several political parties, gave the BJP Rs 405.25 crore, almost 44 per cent of the electoral funds of Rs 915.59 crore declared by the BJP. That made Prudent’s contribution the single largest to the BJP.

The BJP received Rs 915.59 crore in donations from over 1,500 corporates between 2016 and 2018, nearly 16 times more than what the Congress got in the same period.

The BJP’s Rs 915.59 crore came from 1,731 corporate donors, while the Congress received its donations from 151 corporates. The NCP received Rs 7.737 crore from 23 corporate donors. The CPI has the lowest share of corporate donations at 2 per cent, the ADR noted.

In fact, in FY 2017-18, BJP alone received Rs 167.80 crore or 86.59 per cent of the total donations received by all political parties from electoral trusts. Other four political parties, including Congress, BJD, NCP and JKNC, collectively received only Rs 25.98 crore, according to an ADR analysis.

In FY 2018-19, Prudent Electoral Trust’s contribution to political parties declined but it did a balancing act of sorts between the BJP and Congress. Out of its fund of Rs 182.3 crore in 2018-19, Prudent donated Rs 52.75 crore to the BJP and Rs 39 crore to the Congress. In FY 2017- 18, it donated Rs 169.3 crore to political parties out of which a staggering Rs 144 crore (85 per cent) went to the BJP and just Rs 10 crore was given to the Congress party.

Prudent Electoral Trust Contributions

Year BJP  Congress Total Contribution
FY 20-21 Rs 209 crore Rs 2 crore Rs 245.7 crore
FY 19-20 Rs 203 crore Rs 31 crore Rs 271 crore
FY 18-19 Rs 52 cr Rs 39 cr Rs 182 crore
FY 17-18 Rs 144 cr Rs 10 cr Rs 169 crore
FY 16-17 Rs 252 cr Rs 14 cr Rs 283 crore
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