The Telegraph India
New Delhi

The reliance on electoral bonds — which conceal the identity of the donor — as the main source of income extends not just to the main national parties but even to regional entities, a report released by the Association of Democratic Reforms has revealed.

An analysis of the financial audit reports submitted by 42 state parties shows that 14 of them declared income from electoral bonds, which cumulatively accounted for 50.97 per cent of their total income in 2019-20.

The report titled, “Analysis of Income & Expenditure of Regional Political Parties for FY 2019-20”, released by the ADR on Monday, listed the Telugu parties — Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Telugu Desam Party and the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party — as the biggest beneficiaries of electoral bonds among state parties.

The report says: “For the FY 2019-20, more than 62 per cent of the total income of seven National Parties came from Donations through Electoral Bonds (Rs 2,993.826 crore), wherein identity of the donor is not disclosed to the public. Of the Regional parties that have submitted their audit reports, 14 Regional Parties (TRS, TDP, YSR Congress, BJD, DMK, SHS, AAP, JDU, SP, JDS, SAD, AIADMK, RJD and JMM) have declared receiving donations through Electoral Bonds worth Rs 447.498 crore... TRS received the highest donations worth Rs 89.1529 crore or 68.34 per cent of its total income through Electoral Bonds followed by TDP declaring Electoral Bonds worth Rs 81.60 crore or 89.15 per cent and YSR-C (Rs 74.35 crore or 80.171 per cent).”

The report, which uses the term “regional parties” instead of “state parties”, adds: “As per the data shared by SBI in response to ADR’s RTI application, Electoral Bonds worth Rs 3,429.5586 crore were redeemed by parties in FY 2019-20. Of this, 87.29 per cent was received by four National Parties — BJP, INC, AITC & NCP. The total amount of Electoral Bonds declared by National and Regional parties for FY 2019-20 so far is Rs 3,441.324 crore. The difference in the amount declared by political parties and data on Electoral Bonds redeemed received from SBI could be due to the manner in which parties report in their audit report.”

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