Shiv Sena collected more money than 15 other parties last year. Who from?
Shiv Sena took in more than four times the donations declared by 15 other regional parties in 2015-16, an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch has found.
The saffron party, based out of Maharashtra, declared to have received 143 donations above Rs 20,000, totalling Rs 86.84 crore. Of this, Rs 86.16 crore came from business houses, proportionally the highest of any regional party, and a mere Rs 68 lakh was received from individual donors.
"Videocon Industries Ltd donated a total of Rs 85 crore to Shiv Sena, which is the highest amount of donation given by any of the donors to any regional party," states the ADR-NEW report.
The Aam Aadmi Party comes a distant second to the Sena, having collected Rs 6.60 crore from 1,187 donations. AAP is the only party to have received funds from foreign countries; 14.84% of its total donations have come from abroad.
The analysis covered 21 regional parties, focusing on donations above Rs 20,000 received in the 2015-16 fiscal. All political parties are mandated to submit details of such donations to the Election Commission. In all, the 21 parties took in Rs 107.62 crore from 2,249 donations. Interestingly, the BJD AIADMK, JMM, NPF and RLD claimed to have not received any donation above Rs 20,000 during this period.
The report notes that donations collected in 2015-16 decreased 20.2% compared to the previous year. The regional parties to have declared an increase in donations over the past year are the Shiv Sena, PMK, JDS, AIUDF and DMDK.
In contrast to the Sena, its splinter outfit, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, has declared a decline of 95.3% in donations, from Rs 6.08 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 28 lakh in 2015-16. The Sikkim Democratic Front saw a decrease of 91.8%.
In 2014, the Election Commission issued a notification stating that "no tax deduction shall be allowed on the contributions made in cash by any person or company to a political party" from 2014-15 fiscal. But, there has been a marked increase in cash donations to political parties between 2014-15 and 2015-16.
The 21 parties considered for this report together declared cash donations of only Rs 30 lakh in 2014-15 - 0.22% of their total donations above Rs 20,000 - which rose to Rs 3.32 crore in 2015-16.
Among all states, Tamil Nadu accounted for the highest cash donations of Rs 2.46 crore, followed by Punjab at Rs 14.11 lakh.
An interesting fact revealed by the analysis was that 84.85% of the total donations above Rs 20,000 received by the 21 parties were from corporate houses. Moreover, these parties had 59 undeclared donations in 2015-16.
Of the 16 parties that declared donations above Rs 20,000, the Shiv Sena, AAP, PMK, YSR Congress, AIUDF, IUML, MNS, SAD and DMDK have not declared PAN details of 1,567 donations, totalling Rs 6.79 crore.
The PMK, in fact, hasn't provided PAN details of even a single donor to the Election Commission. It collected Rs 2.646 crore from 571 donations. AAP failed to provide PAN details of 468 donors from whom the party collected Rs 2.89 crores in 842 donations.
The report also highlighted that 26 regional parties "defaulted" in submitting their donations report to the EC in 2014-15 and/or 2015-16. Of these, 21 have not filed their reports for either year while five have filed for only 2014-15.