Corporate political funding jumped 151% in 2014 LS election

ECI

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 during the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.

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 Rs 576.37 crore (92.61 per cent of total donations) to national parties, while 699 individuals donated Rs 45.23 crore. The BJP emerged the favorite for corporates/businesses, getting 794 donations amounting to Rs 409.94 crore, while the Congress bagged 121 such donations  worth Rs 127.96 crore. The analysis is based on the submissions made by national parties to the Election Commission of donations of over Rs 20,000.

The other major donors included Lodha Constructions — Rs16 crore to the BJP; Sudhakar Mallapa Shetty — Rs 10 crore to the Congress; Videocon Industries — Rs 5 crore to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP); and Lodha Dwellers — Rs5 crore to the NCP.

ADR-NEW also flagged “incomplete disclosure of information” in some reports. A sum of “Rs 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 Rs 138.98 crore.

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

A Satya Trust statement said: “During 2014-15, our trust got around Rs 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 at Rs 63.2 crore, it was the largest donor to the Congress at Rs 54.1. The Trust did not make any donation to national parties during 2013-14.

Report: Rakesh Ranjan (Editor-in-chief)

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