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BJP donations rose from Rs 76 crore to Rs 532 crore in a year, a 593% jump

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The surge in BJP donations are in 2016-17, show ADR and New Election Watch reports. The figure is over 10 times the declared amount by the Congress, which is second on the list

New Delhi: The BJP has seen a 593 per cent increase in its declared donations — those that exceed Rs 20,000 — between 2016 and 2017, according to new data assessment by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW).

While the ruling party received Rs 76.85 crore in such donations in 2015-16, the amount increased to Rs 532.27 crore in 2016-17. The figure is over 10 times the declared amount that the Congress, which is second on the list in terms of total donations, has managed in the same period.

The Congress received Rs 41.90 crore of declared donations in 2016-17, which, however, is a 105 per cent increase from the Rs 20.42 crore it got in 2015-16.

NCP makes biggest jump

As per the data, the biggest jump has been by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which saw a 793 per cent increase in declared donations, from Rs 71 lakh in FY 2015-16 to Rs 6.34 crore in FY 2016-17.

Only the Communist Party of India (CPI) saw a reduction in declared donations — its amount dropped by around 9 per cent from Rs 1.58 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 1.44 crore in 2016-17.

The new report, which focuses on declared donations received by the national political parties, is based on the data submitted by them to the Election Commission.

It found that the total declared donations by the seven national parties — the BJP, Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI, CPM and the Trinamool Congress — increased by 478 per cent from Rs 102.02 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 589.38 crore in 2016-17.

The BJP alone has accounted for Rs 532.27 crore of the Rs 589.38 crore in 2016-17.

Unknown donations

The report flagged donations from unknown sources, while urging political parties to provide a list of all their donors under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

It found that while the declared donations of all the parties was Rs 589.38 crore in 2016-17, the total income in the same period was Rs 1559.17 crore — of which 45.59 per cent came from unknown sources.

For the BJP, “voluntary contributions” made up 99.98 per cent of the total income from unknown sources, which totalled Rs 464.94 crore in 2016-17.

For the Congress, the “sale of coupons” — a practice followed by some political parties to collect donations from donors — made up 91.69 per cent of the total income from unknown sources. This was Rs 126.12 crore in 2016-17.

The report also alleged that at least four parties — the BJP, Congress, CPI and CPM — provided incomplete information, in that all of them together did not declare the PAN details of at least 166 donations.

“The national and regional political parties must provide all information on their finances under the Right to Information Act. This will go a long way in strengthening political parties, elections and democracy,” the report has recommended.

However, in a recent statement, the Election Commission had said that political parties are outside the purview of the RTI Act, even though a directive by the Central Information Commission (CIC) had declared six national political parties as public authorities, meaning they were within the ambit of RTI.

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