Manas Dasgupta
New Delhi

Unknown sources accounted for over 76 per cent of the declared income of 27 regional parties in 2021-2022, a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) released on Tuesday said. It said 93.26 per cent of the income from unknown sources came from anonymous electoral bonds.

Electoral watchdog ADR initially considered 54 regional parties but found that 28 of these parties had filed both their annual audit report and contribution report, which is the declaration of all donations over Rs 20,000 apart from electoral bonds, with the Election Commission as required. One of the parties, the Aam Aadmi Party, which has recently been declared a national party, was not included in the analysis as there were “discrepancies” in the data in both reports, ADR said.

In total, the 27 parties analysed had declared Rs 1,165.57 crore as income in 2021-2022, a jump from Rs 530.70 crore in 2020-2021, the year the Covid-19 pandemic. Of the total income only Rs 145.42 crore was from known donors, which include donations for which donor details are available in the reports. The report said “other known sources” like membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, etc accounted for Rs 132.60 crore.

Unknown sources, which include electoral bonds, sale of coupons, relief fund and miscellaneous income, accounted for Rs 887.55 crore or 76.14 per cent of the total income. Out of the unknown sources, anonymous electoral bonds accounted for Rs 827.76 crore or 93.26 per cent. In 2020-2021, unknown sources accounted for 49.73 per cent of the total income of 27 parties, ADR said.

Of the parties analysed, the DMK had the highest amount of income from unknown sources (Rs 306.02 crore), followed by the Biju Janata Dal (Rs 291.09 crore), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (Rs 153.03 crore), the YSR-Congress (Rs 60.01 crore) and the Janata Dal (United) (Rs 48.36 crore).

In its report, ADR recommended that since a large percentage of the income of parties cannot be traced, the complete list of all donors should be made available under the Right to Information. It added that any organisation that receives funds from foreign sources should not be allowed to support a political party or candidate.

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