In a sign of the rising role of the corporate sector in the electoral process of India, reports submitted by national parties to the Election Commission (EC) show that 90 per cent of the donations received by them in 2013-14 were from corporates and business houses. Only 10 per cent donations were from individual sources. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the only national party which is yet to submit its donations report to the EC.

According to an analysis by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-profit election watchdog, of reports submitted to the Election Commission, total donations received four national parties – Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist party of India (Marxist) and Communist party of India – rose by ₹62.69 crore, a rise of 517 per cent from 2012-13.

Leading donors

The Bharti Group’s Satya Electoral Trust was the highest donor to the Congress at ₹36.5 crore, followed by the A.V.Patil Foundation (₹5 crore) and Bharat Forge Ltd (₹2.50 crore). None of these three donated to the Congress in 2012-13, says ADR.

The top three donors to NCP were Satya Electoral Trust (₹4 crore), Shirke Infrastructure (₹2 crore) and Serum Institute of India Ltd. (₹1.50 crore). None of these donated to NCP during 2012-13.

Donations to CPI were by means of collection, levy and membership fees. The maximum amount was from former Lok Sabha MP, Gurudas Dasgupta (₹25 lakh) followed by the party’s Andhra Pradesh State Council (₹14.96 lakh) and Kerala State Council (₹11.53 lakh).

While four donations to CPI were made from unions and a Memorial Trust that aggregated ₹2.75 lakh, the CPI(M) received ₹5 lakh from four corporate and business houses during 2013-14, an ADR release said.

“Ninety per cent of the donations being from corporates show the increasing hold of the corporate sector on political parties, which is somewhat disconcerting. The ruling party (BJP) not submitting its donation report is not a good sign, as it possibly indicates a lack of respect for integrity of institutions, which is not healthy for a democracy”, said Jagdeep Chhokar, founder trustee of ADR.

Political parties are required to submit their contributions report before the due date for furnishing a return of their income for 2013-14, which was October 31, 2014.

(This article was published on December 24, 2014)