The Hindu
New Delhi

Of the ₹1,833 crore income from unknown sources declared by all six parties in 2022-23, the BJP received 76%, and the Congress got 17%; over 82% of this income came via electoral bonds

Almost 60% of the funds received by political parties cannot be traced and come from “unknown” sources, including electoral bonds, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The ADR, which analysed the audit reports and the donations declared in statements filed by political parties with the Election Commission of India each year, said that between the financial years 2004-05 and 2022-23, the country’s six national parties collected ₹19,083.08 crore from unknown sources.

At present, political parties are not required to reveal the names of individuals or organisations giving them less than ₹20,000. As a result, three-fifths of the funds received cannot be traced and are from ‘unknown’ sources, the report said.

Lion’s share to BJP

Of the ₹3,076.88 crore declared as income by national parties in 2022-23, ₹1,832.87 crore — or more than 59% —came from unknown sources. Of this, the share of income from electoral bonds was ₹1,510.61 crore, or 82.42%.

The vast majority of these funds went to the BJP. During 2022-23, the ruling party declared ₹1,400.23 crore as its income from unknown sources. This amounts to 76.39% of the total income from unknown sources declared by all national parties; the other five national parties together have received only ₹432.63 crore from unknown sources.

The Congress came a distant second, claiming 17.19% of the national pie and declaring ₹315.11 crore as its income from unknown sources.

BSP income only from known sources

The other parties included in the ADR’s analysis were the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Aam Aadmi Party, and the National People’s Party.

The BSP, however, declared that it did not receive any funds from voluntary contributions (above or below ₹20,000), or the sale of coupons and electoral bonds, or unknown sources of income. The BSP only received ₹29.27 crore from other known sources of income, which include bank interest (₹15.05 crore), membership fees (₹13.73 crore), gains on the sale of immovable property (₹28.49 lakh), and interest on its income tax refund for 2021-22 (₹20.65 lakh).

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