The Election Commission of India (ECI) uploaded the Congress party’s contribution report earlier this week. Foreseeably, the Congress party, which along with existential crisis is also going through major financial crisis post-2019 Lok Sabha elections, has managed to gather Rs 139.01 crore in contributions in 2019-2020. This is a significant dip from last years collection of Rs 146 crore.
All political parties are required to submit a contribution report to the Election Commission every year listing out donations received from individuals as well as companies and trust in excess of Rs 20,000.
According to the data provided on the ECI site, Congress which filed its contribution report on December 30, 2020, declared a collection of Rs 139.01 crore in 2019-20.
This amount is much lesser than what it collected in 2018-19.
However, what is extraordinary about the ECI report on Congress’ contribution for 2019-20, is that the members of the Gandhi family, which has been running the show since the inception of the party, have appeared to be the most close-fisted. The party president Sonia Gandhi has contributed Rs 50,000 to the party fund, while her son and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi donated Rs 54,000.
Interestingly the 23 senior leaders of the party invariably called the G-23 or the group of 23 dissenting leaders who have been vocal about the leadership concerns within the party, have either matched the contributions made by the party supremos or have exceeded their contributions.
Kapil Sibal, who has been the most vocal among the G-23 leader, donated Rs 3 crore to the party fund. Kapil Sibal, in fact, was the biggest individual contributor among the party leaders.
Besides Kapil Sibal, the list submitted by the Congress to the Election Commission has five other G-23 members as contributors to the party fund. They are Raj Babbar, Milind Deora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Shashi Tharoor. Raj Babbar donated Rs 1.08 lakh followed by Deora who contributed Rs 1 lakh. The other three made a contribution of Rs 54,000 each, same as Rahul Gandhi.
Moreover, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Defence Minister AK Antony, late Motilal Vora, late Ahmed Patel, former Union minister Preneet Kaur, and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also matched their donations with Rahul Gandhi, contributing the unique figure of Rs 54,000 each to the party funds. Some of them made multiple contributions each of Rs 54,000.
Meanwhile, Jyotiraditya Scindia, who defected from the Congress to join BJP, also made a contribution of Rs 54,000 to the party fund.
Amongst the corporates which contributed to the Congress party fund were Bharti Airtel-backed Prudent Electoral Trust making the biggest contribution of Rs 31 crore followed by the ITC at Rs 13 crore and ITC Infotech Rs 4 crore.