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Who drew the most moolah from India Inc? The BJP of course

Akash Bisht | Updated on: 17 August 2017, 21:45 IST

Of every rupee India Inc spent to fund political parties during the last general election, 71 paise went to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party also topped the chart of most donors with missing PAN or address details. 

That the corporates just love Prime Minister Narendra Modi was known more or less. What the figure mentioned above – released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) – reveal is the extent of their support to Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. 

The ruling party bagged Rs 408.344 crore in the 2014-15 financial year of the total Rs 573.18 crore that corporates spent; the Congress placed a distant second with Rs 128.11 crore, according to a report released by ADR Thursday.

Needless to say nothing much remained for the other parties. The funding in that one year was 60% of total political donations between 2012-13 and 2015-16. 

But the BJP’s luck doesn’t seem to run out even in lean years: Donations declined 86.58% after the election year; but it increased its share to 88% of total donation. Meanwhile, Congress’s decline got reflected in donations too: It received only Rs 8.99 crore during 2015-16 – a mere 11% of total spending. 

The other national parties – the Nationalist Congress Party, the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – fared even worse. The Bahujan Samaj Party was kept out of the exercise as it declared of receiving no voluntary contribution above Rs 20,000 in the period.

Political parties need to file with Election Commission of India details of donations exceeding Rs 20,000 in a financial year. Parties provide details of the name. 

The ADR analysed such data to find that business hpouses donated Rs 956.77 crore to parties between the four years mentioned above. That constituted 89% of the total contribution to the parties from known sources. 

The figure was nearly thrice the Rs 378.89 crore in corporate donation to national parties in the preceding eight years, in which there were two Lok Sabha elections and 52 Assembly polls.

The break-up

The BJP received the maximum Rs 705.81 crore from 2,987 corporate donors, according to the ADR report. The Congress received Rs 198.16 crore from 167 donors. 

These big-ticket contributions comprised 92% of BJP and 85% of Congress’s total receipt. The CPI and CPM received only 4% and 17% of the funds, respectively. 

Electoral Trusts emerged as the biggest donors, the report revealed. Satya Electoral Trust, incorporated in 2013, contributed the most – 35 times in three years, amounting to Rs 260.87 crore. The Trust, which has several North India-based business houses, donated overwhelmingly to the BJP (Rs 193.62 crore in three years) compared with the Congress (Rs 57.25 crore) or the NCP (Rs 10 crore).

The General Electoral Trust, formed before the Electoral Trust Scheme was launched by the government in 2013, donated Rs 70.70 crore and Rs 54.1 crore to the BJP and the Congress, respectively. The Group of Companies (comprising eight firms) donated Rs 19.48 crore.

Unlike the other three parties, the Left parties drew the most from associations or unions.

Grey money

The BJP has been flagging the lack of transparency in political funding and stressing on the need to curb black money. But the according to the ADR report, 99% of donations without PAN and address details – worth Rs 159.59 crore – went to the BJP. 

Among donations to national parties, 1,933 entries (worth Rs 384.04 crore) did not have PAN details while 1,546 (Rs 355.08 crore) did not have address registered. 

What is even more shocking is that 262 donations, worth Rs 10.48 crore, were from entities with zero internet presence or were with ambiguous nature of work. “Contact details of most of these companies were unavailable in cases where they were visible online,” read the report.

First published: 17 August 2017, 21:45 IST