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ADR's analysis highlighted that five electoral trusts collectively received Rs 366.49 crore during the specified financial year.

In a comprehensive analysis conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), it has been revealed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the primary beneficiary, receiving a staggering Rs 259.08 crore or 70.69% of the total funds distributed by electoral trusts during the 2022-23 financial year. The findings shed light on the financial landscape of political funding, showcasing the BJP's dominance in this sphere.

According to a report published in The Hindu, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) secured the second-largest share, obtaining Rs 90 crore or 24.56% of the total donations distributed among political parties. The YSR Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the Congress collectively received Rs 17.40 crore, forming a smaller proportion of the overall funds distributed.

The ADR's analysis highlighted that five electoral trusts collectively received Rs 366.49 crore during the specified financial year. Only five of the 18 approved electoral trusts disclosed contributions from corporate houses and individuals.

Electoral trusts, introduced by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2013, operate similarly to the electoral bonds scheme, facilitating political donations from corporations and individuals. However, unlike electoral bonds, electoral trusts are mandated to submit annual reports to the Election Commission (EC) detailing contributions from individuals and companies, ensuring transparency in the funding process.

In the 2022-23 period, 13 out of 18 electoral trusts registered with the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) submitted their contribution details to the Election Commission. The ADR's report revealed that five trusts received contributions from various corporate entities.

Prudent Electoral Trust dominated the corporate contributions, receiving over Rs 360 crore from 34 corporate and business houses. Meanwhile, Samaj Electoral Trust received Rs 2 crore from one company, Paribartan Electoral Trust received Rs 75.50 lakh from two companies, and Triumph Electoral Trust received Rs 50 lakh from two companies.

The ADR report further disclosed that a total of 11 individuals contributed to electoral trusts during the same financial year. Notably, eight individuals contributed Rs 2.70 crore to the Prudent Electoral Trust, while three individuals contributed Rs 8 lakh to the Einzigartig Electoral Trust.

In adherence to government rules, electoral trusts are mandated to distribute at least 95% of the total contributions received during the financial year to eligible political parties before March 31. In the 2022-23 period, the trusts remarkably exceeded this requirement, distributing 99.99% of the received funds to political parties, signaling a commitment to transparency and accountability in political funding.

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