Five states contribute 80% to political parties, millionaires keep away
In a country said to have almost 3.5 lakh dollar millionaires, not even three thousand of them donated to political parties in 2017-18, reveals ADR report
Five states contribute over 80% of donations exceeding ₹20,000 to political parties, reveals an ADR study of returns filed to the Election Commission. The lion’s share is paid by donors in Delhi (208 Cr) followed by Maharashtra (72 Cr), Gujarat (44 Cr), Karnataka (43 Cr) and Haryana (10 Cr).
The study also reveals that unlike in western democracies, very few individuals donate more than ₹20,000 to political parties here. While electoral trusts and corporate bodies were the main contributors, individuals numbered just 2,772.
In a country which boasts of 131 Dollar billionaires at the beginning of 2018 and as many as 3,43,000 Dollar millionaires (one million Dollars are equal to INR seven Crore plus), the number of donors is curiously low. The rich and the powerful clearly do not want to be seen donating to political parties and would rather donate through their companies or through electoral trusts.
The study does not, however, capture the money collected by anonymous electoral bonds, which will get reflected in the returns filed to the ECI in the next fiscal.
The report records that while donations exceeding ₹20,000 each to political parties totalled ₹469 Cr in 2017-18, as much as ₹437 Cr were collected by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The principal opposition party the Indian National Congress (INC) lagged far behind with just ₹26 Crore. Although BJP’s collections declined over the previous year, its declared donations, each above ₹20,000, was 12 times the donations collected by all other parties.
The ADR study also records that the two mainstream communist parties have declared donations between ₹1.1 Crore (CPI) and ₹2.7 Crore (CPM). The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) submitted returns of just ₹20 lakhs while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) claimed none of the donations made to it was more than ₹20,000.