Difficult times? Political parties rake in crores

Political parties in the country have been raking in crores of rupees, majority being donation from ‘unknown’ sources.

Updated: Jul 11, 2012, 14:31 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Even as the common man is finding it difficult to combat inflation and price rise, a situation described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “difficult times”, political parties in the country have been raking in crores of rupees, majority being donation from ‘unknown’ sources.

As per the Income Tax return details of the political parties published by an English newspaper, the ruling Congress raised a whopping Rs 1,662 crore in five years from 2007-08 to 2011-12.

The Bharatiya Janta Party came in second with Rs 852 crore, while the Bahujan Samaj Party was third with Rs 424 crores.
The Communist party of India (Marxist) Rs 336 crore, Samajwadi Party Rs 202 crore and NCP Rs 141 crore complete the top six.
Analysis of the report highlights two major points:

First, the majority of the funds accumulated by various political parties come from anonymous donors. As per the report, a whopping 90% of the donations come from unknown sources, raising a big question mark on the transparency of elections.

Parties (like Mayawati’s BSP) explain it by saying that according to the rules, an amount as low as RS 20 K doesn’t need donor’s name.

Second, an election year proves to be a money-making festival for political parties. The income of all the parties saw more or less two-fold hike in the 2009-10, the year during when Lok Sabha polls were held.

For example, the Congress’ funds saw more than double hike, from Rs 220 crore in 2008-09 to Rs 497 crore in 2009-10. The BJP doubled its money chest to Rs 220 crore in 2009-10, from Rs 124 crore in previous year.

Mayawati’s BSP also saw its wealth multiplying, from Rs 70 crore in 2008-09 to Rs 182 crore in the election year.

Even though, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has received several complaints regarding this, the agency has failed to launch any probe into the undisclosed donations collected by political parties, the report rued.