55% of donations to regional parties from “unknown” sources: ADR report

Around 95 per cent of the donations from “unknown” sources have been made through electoral bonds

Electoral Bond
While ₹426.233 crore or 95.6 per cent of donations from these unknown sources were made through electoral bonds, ₹4.976 crore were voluntary contributions. Representative photo

More than half of donations received by regional political parties in the fiscal 2019-20 came from “unknown” donors and 95 per cent of it constituted electoral bonds, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has said in its latest report released on Thursday.

The donation received from unknown sources, contributed to 70.98 per cent of the income of national parties, the report said.

According to the report, 25 regional parties received a total of ₹803.24 crore donations in 2019-20, of which ₹445.7 crore came from “unknown” sources. While ₹426.233 crore or 95.6 per cent of donations from these unknown sources were made through electoral bonds, ₹4.976 crore were voluntary contributions.

Donations from the “unknown” sources contributed immensely to regional parties including TRS (₹89.158 crore), TDP (₹81.694), YSR Congress Party (₹74.75 crore), BJD (₹50.586 crore) and DMK (₹45.50 crore).

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On the other hand, a total of ₹186.623 crore (22.98 per cent of their income) of donation was made to regional parties from “known” sources (of which the Election Commission has details), while ₹172.843 crore came from other sources like membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications and party levy among others. The latter was 21.52 per cent of the total income of the parties.

In its report for 2018-19, the ADR had said that the total income of 23 regional parties which had filed their annual audit and donation reports, was ₹885.956 crore of which 54.32 per cent or ₹481.276 crore came from “unknown” sources.

The ADR had instructed the parties to make the full details of the donors available while suggesting that any organization that receives foreign funding will not be allowed to support or campaign for any party or candidate. “The mode of payment of all donations (above and below ₹20,000), income from sale of coupons, membership fees etc. should be declared by the parties in…audit reports, submitted to the I-T department and ECI,” the ADR had said.

Meanwhile, a report on the BJP’s election expenditure submitted to the Election Commission revealed that the party spent ₹252 crore in the Assembly elections in Assam, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal and over ₹151.18 crore of the lot was spent on the West Bengal elections alone. The Trinamool Congress also spent around ₹154.28 crore on the assembly elections.

 

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