“This shows donations and Voluntary Contributions seem to be one of the major sources of income for most of the political parties. However, donations from named contributors (i.e. contributors who made donations above Rs 20,000 which is to be mandatorily declared) form a very small percentage of total Income of political parties. Of the National Parties for FY 2009-2010 and FY 2010-2011, BJP’s donations from named donors amount to 22.76% of the total income. INC has shown a mere 11.89% of their income from contributions, followed by NCP with 4.64% and CPM, 1.29%,” the press release informed.
Bahujan Samaj Party has declared that it has not received any donations above Rs 20,000 in FY 2009-2010 and FY 2010-2011 even though its total income for the two years is Rs 172.67 Cr. CPI has shown 57.02% of total Income from donations above Rs 20,000.
Out of the regional parties analyzed for FY 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has 99.98% of its income coming from donations followed by Janata Dal (United) with 95.96% and Lok Janshakti Party with 89.88%. Rashtriya Janata Dal (56.13%) and Telugu Desham Party (37%) derive maximum income from donations above Rs 20,000.
BJP had the maximum number of donors donating above Rs 20000 for FY 2009-2010 (279) and FY 2010-2011 (502) while for INC it was 226 in 2009-2010 and 417 in 2010-2011.
Several Electoral Trusts are now making contributions to political parties, according to ADR. They include trusts like the General Electoral Trust, the Public and Political Awareness Trust, Bharti Electoral Trust, Electoral Trust, Harmony Electoral Trust, Satya Electoral Trust, Chowgule Charitable Trust and the Corporate Electoral Trust.
The trust which has made the maximum contributions to the political parties is the General Electoral Trust with contributions of Rs 36.46 Cr to INC between FY 2003-04 and 2010-11 and Rs 26.07 Cr to the BJP during the same time. Bharti Electoral Trust has made a contribution of Rs 11.00 Cr to INC during FY 2008-09 and Rs 6.10 Cr to BJP during the same period.
This is followed by The Public and Political awareness Trust making an overall contribution of Rs 9.5 Crores to BJP during the FY 2003-04 and 2004-05. Electoral trust made contributions amounting to Rs 9.96 Cr to INC in FY 2004-05 and FY 2009-10, Rs 6.82 Cr to BJP in FY 2004-05 & 2009-10, Rs 0.30 Cr to JD(U) in 2009-10, Rs 1.58 Cr to SP in FY 2004-05 and 2009-10.
Harmony Electoral Trust made a contribution of Rs 2.00 Cr to INC and Rs 1.50 Cr to BJP during the FY 2009-10 while Satya Electoral Trust had made donations amounting to Rs 2.00 Cr to INC and Rs 1.00 Cr to NCP during the FY 2009-10.
Similar to the Electoral Trusts, several companies/corporates have donated to the political parties between the FYs 2003-04 and 2010-11, few among them are Torrent Power Ltd, Asianet TV Holding Pvt. Ltd., Sterlite Industries, ITC Ltd, Videocon Industries Ltd, Larsen & Tubro Ltd, Infrastructure Development & Consultant (I) (P) Ltd, Russel Credit Ltd.
The top ten companies which made the maximum contributions are the Torrent Power Ltd donating Rs 14.15 Cr to INC during the FYs 2003-04, 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2010-11 and Rs 13.00 Cr to BJP during the FYs 2007-08 to 2010-11. Asianet V Holding Pvt. Ltd donating Rs 10.00 Cr to BJP during the FY 2009-10 and Rs 2.50 Cr to INC during the FY 2009-10.
Sterlite Industries, a subsidiary of the Vedanta Group, donated Rs 6.00 Cr to INC during FY 2004-05 and FY 2009-10 while The Madras Aluminium Co Ltd, also a subsidiary of the Vedanta Group had contributed Rs 3.50 Cr to BJP.
Southern Engineering Works (SEW) Constructions, SEW Infrastructure and Videocon Industries are other major donors who contributed to INC, BJP, CPI and NCP. ITC is also a major donor making contributions to SP (Rs 78 lacs), AIADMK (Rs 55 Lacs) and to RJD (Rs 33 lacs) between FY 2003-04 and FY 2010-11.
ADR had filed an RTI to the ECI to obtain the contribution reports filed by the 6 national parties and 36 recognized regional/state parties for FY 2004-2005 till FY 2010-2011. As per the records maintained with the ECI and the response received from the CPIO/Appellate Authority, five national parties (INC, BJP, BSP, CPI and CPM) have filed their contribution reports from 2004-2005 till 2010-2011. NCP is the only national party who has not submitted its contribution reports from FY 2004-2005 till FY 2006-2007. However, it has submitted its contribution reports from FY 2007-2008 till 2010-2011.
As per ECI records, only 5 regional/state parties have regularly filed their contribution reports from FY 2004-2005 till FY 2010-2011. These are Samajwadi Party, AIADMK, Janata Dal (United), Shiv Sena and Telugu Desham Party. 18 regional/state parties have never filed their contribution reports to the Election Commission from FY 2004-2005 till FY 2010-2011. Many of these defaulting political parties who have never filed their contribution reports for the mentioned time period are ruling parties/major opposition parties in their respective states.
ADR demanded that provisions of the RPA relating to filing of contribution reports by parties should be strictly followed and parties who fail to abide by the provisions of the Act must not be allowed to avail tax relief under the Income Tax Act. There should be a strict mechanism for donations received in cash through sale of coupons, investigate the role of corporate and foreign entities in setting up of electoral trusts for making donations to political parties and more transparency is needed in the functioning of Electoral Trusts, besides political parties must be declared as public authorities.