Of the total Rs 91.37 crore donations, the top three parties, including AAP and Akali Dal, amounted to Rs 65.83 crore.
New Delhi: Shiv Sena received the highest amount of donations among regional parties in the financial year 2016-17, showed an election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report released Tuesday.
Of the 48 surveyed regional parties, 25 declared a sum of Rs 91.37 crore from 6,339 donations in the financial year 2016-17, including contributions both above and below Rs 20,000, said the report.
A staggering 72.05% or Rs 65.83 crore was received by three regional parties — the Shiv Sena, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
“With regard to the total amount of donations, Shiv Sena leads with Rs 25.65 crore from 297 donations followed by AAP, which has declared receiving Rs 24.73 crore from 3,865 donations,” said the report.
At Rs 15.45 crore, the SAD rounded up the top three regional parties.
Also read: Flying solo in Maharashtra 2019, Shiv Sena targets BJP stronghold of Vidarbha
Eight regional parties — AAP, SAD, Janata Dal (Secular), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Sikkim Democratic Front, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Naga People’s Front (NPF) — declared an increase in the amount of donations received between fiscal 2015-16 and 2016-17, the report stated.
The AGP saw an increase of 7183% in donations, with the Akali Dal close behind with at 5842%.
The highest amount of donations was contributed from Delhi at Rs 20.86 crore, followed by Rs 19.7 crore from Maharashtra and Rs 9.42 crore from Punjab.
Despite maximum donations, Shiv Sena reported a decline of 70% or Rs 61.19 crore from Rs 86.84 crore in fiscal 2015-16.
Late submissions, missing parties
Of the 25 parties that filed the report, 18 didn’t submit the PAN details of the donors. Only eight — All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), NPF, SAD, Telegu Desam Party (TDP), Samajwadi Party (SP) and RLD — submitted their donations report in the stipulated time, with others delaying up to a maximum of 8 months to 2 days.
Shiv Sena submitted its report nearly four months late while Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) submitted two months behind the scheduled date. AAP delayed its report by over four and a half months.
The political parties that have still not filed their donation reports include the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Indian Union Muslims’ League (IUML).
Moreover, despite an Election Commission of India notification dated 29 August, 2014 stating that tax deduction won’t be allowed on cash contributions, Rs 2.82 crore from 1,919 donations was received in cash during fiscal 2017. “This formed 3.09% of the total donations to the parties,” said the report.
Citing a September 2013 Supreme Court judgment, the ADR report recommended that no part of the Form 24A submitted by political parties providing details of donations above Rs 20,000 should be blank.
It urged the regional parties to lead by example and file complete and correct information. The ADR also recommended that parties which don’t submit the donations report in the stipulated time be penalised.
“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,” added the report.