Anushka Sharma

70% of the ₹366 crores in donations made through electroal trusts has gone to the BJP, shows data from ADR. BJP is also the only party to receive donations from more than one electoral trust. Interestingly, the biggest donor is not a well known corporate or business house, but a relatively small Hyderabad-based infrastructure firm.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has received the lion's share of the political donations made by electoral trusts for the fiscal year 2022-23. Data published by Association for Democratic Reforms says the party secured 259 crores through these donations, accounting for 70% of the total contribution of ₹366.495 crores.

In contrast, the Congress party received just ₹50 lakhs, even less that the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) ₹90 lakhs. The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) received the second highest amount from electoral trusts. It's ₹90 crores accounts for 24.56% of the total. The YSR Congress, at No#3 in terms of donations,  received ₹16 crores.

It's worth remembering that electoral trusts are required to distribute at least 95% of the total contribution they receive during the financial year to the eligible political parties before the year ends.  Also, by law, donations made through electoral trusts are required to be disclosed, in as much as which trust donates how much; the recipient of this money is anonymous.

The data collated by ADR also says that of the 13 electoral trusts that submitted their reports, only 5 electoral trusts declared receiving contributions during FY23 from corporates and inpiduals. These were Prudent Electoral Trust (₹363.16 crore), Samaj Electoral Trust Association (₹2 crore), Paribartan Electoral Trust (₹0.76 crore), Triumph Electoral Trust (₹0.50 crore), and Einzigartig Electoral Trust (₹0.08 crore).

Prudent's kitty of a little over ₹360 crores came from 34 corporate and business houses. Only one company contributed ₹2 crore to Samaj Electoral Trust, two companies contributed ₹75.50 lakh to Paribartan Electoral Trust, and two companies contributed ₹50 lakh to Triumph Electoral Trust.

The Biggest Contriubtors

Interestingly, just 10 corporations donated more than 90% of the total donations on record. The top spot goes to Megha Engineering, a Hyderabad-based infrastructure company, which contributed 87 crores.

ArcelorMittal Nippon & ArcelorMittal Design, group companies of billionaire Lakshmi Mittal's Luxembourg-based multinational steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal,  together donated the second-largest figure of 75 crores.

At third place is Adar Poonawalla-run vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India, which contributed ₹50.25 crores. The other two names in the top-5 are little-known Abhinand Ventures (₹50 crores), and  Medha Servo Drives (₹30 crores), which designs and manufactures rail transport products and solutions.

Donations by Electoral Trusts to political parties 

The data also shows that BJP is the only party to receive donations from multiple electoral trusts.

Prudent Electoral Trust donated ₹256.25 crore to the party. This is lower than the ₹336.50 crore it contributed in FY22. Samaj ET Association, meanwhile,  donated ₹1.50 crore of its total income to the BJP in FY23.

Prudent Electoral Trust also donated to three other political parties:  BRS, YSR Congress and AAP. Total contributions to these three parties amount to ₹106.9 crores.

Again, these are just the publically-available details on political contributions made through electoral trusts. Donor information for contributions made by entities other than such trusts through electoral bonds remain anonymous, as do details pertaining to the recipients of these contributions.

It is also important to remember that the Supreme Court has reserved judgment on the legality of electoral bonds. The date for pronouncement of this judgment has not been announced yet.

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