BJP, top choice of corporate donors in 2014-15

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Jan 24, 2018

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Gets ₹437 cr, twice the aggregate of all national parties; Cong is No 2 choice: ADR-NEW analysis

In 2014-15, the year the Lok Sabha elections catapulted Narendra Modi to power with a massive mandate, the Satya Electoral Trust of major corporates and the Aditya Birla Group’s General Electoral Trust were the top two donors to both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

According to an analysis by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW), the corporate/business sector made 968 donations worth ₹576.37 crore (92.61 per cent of total donations) to national parties, while 699 individuals donated ₹45.23 crore. The BJP emerged the favourite for corporates/businesses, getting 794 donations amounting to ₹409.94 crore, while the Congress bagged 121 such donations  worth ₹127.96 crore. The analysis is based on the submissions made by national parties to the Election Commission of donations of over ₹20,000.

The other major donors included Lodha Constructions — ₹16 crore to the BJP; Sudhakar Mallapa Shetty — ₹10 crore to the Congress; Videocon Industries — ₹5 crore to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP); and Lodha Dwellers — ₹5 crore to the NCP.

Overall, total donations to all national parties rose 151 per cent over 2013-14, with the BJP seeing a 156 per cent rise (₹170.86 crore in 2013-14), ADR-NEW said. The highest increase (177 per cent) in donations was declared by the NCP at ₹38.82 crore in 2014-15 from ₹14.02 crore in 2013-14. The Satya Trust was the BJP’s top donor at ₹107.25 crore, accounting for 25 per cent of the ₹437.35 crore received by the party from corporates and individuals, says the analysis. The Trust donated ₹18.75 crore to the Congress.

A Satya Trust statement said: “During 2014-15, our trust got around ₹141 crore worth of contributions from various corporates, which included the Bharti Group, Hero MotoCorp, Jubiliant Foodworks, National Engineering Industries, Orient Cement, DLF, JK Tyres, Indiabulls Housing Finance, and Kalpataru Power Transmission. A total of 18 corporates contributed during 2014-15. These contributions were utilised for giving political donations across political parties during the said year.” While the Birla group’s General Electoral Trust was the BJP’s second-largest corporate donor, doling out ₹63.2 crore to the party, it was the largest donor to the Congress, pouring ₹54.1 crore into the party’s coffers. The Trust did not make any donation to national parties during 2013-14.

The analysis said: “With 1,234 donations from individuals and corporates, the donations declared by the BJP are more than twice the aggregate declared by the Congress (₹141.46 crore), the NCP (₹38.82 crore), the CPI (M) (₹3.42 crore) and the Communist Party of India (₹1.33 crore) for the same period.”

Commenting on the rising trend of corporate donations to political parties, a corporate lawyer, who did not wish to be identified, said that the new company law — enacted in 2013 — provides for increased limit for corporate donations to political parties. Among States, the highest amount from corporates and individuals flowed from Maharashtra (₹260.01 crore), followed by Gujarat (₹24.76 crore) and Delhi (₹15.34 crore).

Incomplete disclosure

ADR-NEW flagged “incomplete disclosure of information” in some reports. A sum of “₹83.915 lakh was declared as received by the BJP from 20 donors whose PAN details, address and mode of contribution (together) were unavailable,” said the analysis. The Congress, it said, has not mentioned the cheque/DD numbers for 192 donations amounting to ₹138.98 crore.

Demanding that full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny, ADR-NEW said some countries where this is done include Bhutan, Nepal, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, the US and Japan.

Published on December 07, 2015
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