The ₹714-cr question: who funds BJP?

Poornima Joshi | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

BL05_POL_PRASAD

Party mum on its own poll funding while accusing the AAP of money laundering

The BJP refuses to give any account of how it collects its own funds while it has accused the AAP of money-laundering because the latter accepted ₹2 crore as political donation from “shady” companies.

The allegation against AAP is that it accepted ₹50 lakh each from four companies that were reportedly bogus. The allegation was made by a group called the AAP Volunteer Action Manch and has since been backed by the BJP.

The AAP is the only political party that lists every donation made on its website. The BJP has accused the AAP of money-laundering because it did not verify the antecedents of the companies that donated ₹2 crore.

However, the BJP itself gives no account of the staggering ₹714,28,57,813 that it reported as “expenditure” in the Lok Sabha elections in May 2014 and the Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim held simultaneously.

This sum of ₹714,28,57,813, was listed by the Election Commission (EC) as “expenditure expense” by the BJP. But the party does not disclose where this money came from.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms and the Election Commission, the BJP is yet to submit its donations report to the EC.

Donations listed

The AAP, on the other hand, not only reports each donation made on its website but has also submitted its contribution report for fiscal 2013-14 to the EC. The report, which lists each donor who has made a contribution of over ₹20,000 to the party, was submitted to the EC on September 30, 2014. Not only does the BJP not disclose who its donors are, it so far has thwarted institutional efforts to make election funding more transparent.

Like parties such as the Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI(M), the BJP has refused to follow the EC’s order dated June 3, 2013, which declared them as public authorities and asked them to appoint Public Information Officers to attend to RTI queries.

Legal compliance

According to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the BJP follows all the legal requirements with respect to election funding. “We comply with the requirements under the Representation of People Act as well as the Income Tax Act,” he said.

“The question that we are raising with regard to AAP and its funding is entirely different from what you are asking,” the Minister told BusinessLine .

“The BJP is all for transparency in election funding. How that is to be arrived at is a matter that requires political consensus. Whether we should have state funding of elections or something else is an issue that requires all political parties to sit together and evolve a consensus. How is that related to the fact that AAP has accepted money from shady companies?”

Published on February 04, 2015
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