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‘Over 55% donations to regional parties from unknown sources,’ reveals ADR report: TRS, TDP, YSRCP, DMK and JD(S) top the list

Spokespeople from multiple parties including the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the National Congress Party (NCP) claimed that the ‘unknown’ donations are mostly by organizations or individuals who do not wish to be named in public, as per reports.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in its report released on Thursday revealed that over 55 per cent of the donations received by regional parties in FY 2019-20 came from ‘unknown’ sources. Electoral bonds accounted for nearly 95 per cent of the donations from these ‘unknown’ sources, suggested the report. 

As per the report published by Indian Express, as many as 25 regional parties received Rs 803.24 crore as donations in the year FY 2019-20. Out of this, Rs 445.7 crore was attributed to ‘unknown’ sources, as per the report. While Rs 426.233 crore (95.616%) came from electoral bonds, Rs 4.976 crore from voluntary donations.

Parties from the south top the list

Interestingly, K Chandrashekar Rao led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Chandrababu Naidu led Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Jagan Mohan Reddy led YSR Congress, MK Stalin led DMK and Deve Gowda led JDS topped the list of regional parties with the highest contributions from ‘unknown’ sources.

While TRS received Rs 89.158 crore as ‘unknown’ donations, TDP  received Rs 81.694 crore followed by YSR Congress Party at Rs 74.75 crore, Naveen Patnaik led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) at Rs 50.586 crore and DMK at Rs 45.50 crore. 

22.98% of donations received from known donors

The regional parties received Rs 184.623 crore, which is 22.98 per cent of their total income from ‘known’ donors (donors whose details are available from the contribution report submitted to the Election Commission). 

While another Rs 172.843 crore (21.52 per cent) was earned from other known sources like membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.

A similar number was reported for FY 2018-19 after analyzing 23 regional political parties. 

‘List of all donors should be made public’

Maj. Gen. Anil Verma (Retd.), the Head of ADR while speaking with News18 asserted that the entire donor list must be made public by the political parties. “Since a very large percentage of the income of political parties cannot be traced to the original donor, full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI,” the organization noted. 

It further said that any organization that receives foreign funding should not be allowed to support any candidate or party.

“The mode of payment of all donations (above and below Rs 20,000), income from the sale of coupons, membership fees, etc. should be declared by the parties in audit reports, submitted to the I-T department and ECI,” ADR recommended in the report. 

Political parties say ‘donors not willing to reveal names’

Spokespeople from multiple parties including the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the National Congress Party (NCP) claimed that the ‘unknown’ donations are mostly by organizations or individuals who do not wish to be named in public. 

They further said that the political parties communicate ‘concealment of name’ to the Election Commission. “If there are any irregularities in the management of funds, the Election Commission or State Election Commission can bring it up with the political party,” said NCP leader Majeed Memon. 

However, the head of ADR dismissed their statements citing it as a ‘convenient reason’ to avoid transparency. 

Over Rs 25 crore received without PAN details

In another report from October, ADR revealed that over 16 regional parties had received 1026 donations (~Rs 25 crore) without PAN details. The report had also revealed that parties like Shiv Sena, AIADMK, Aam Aadmi Party, BJD and YSR-C had declared the highest donations in FY 2019-20. Additionally, AAP and Samajwadi Party reported a maximum increase in their income from donations between FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20.

What is ADR?

As per their website, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) was established by a group of professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad in the year 1999. 

The organization in the same year had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court demanding the disclosure of the criminal, financial and educational record of the candidates contesting elections. 

Based on this, the Supreme Court in 2002 had made it mandatory for all ‘candidates contesting elections to disclose their criminal, financial and educational background prior to the polls by filing an affidavit with the Election Commission.’

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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