The Times of India

JAIPUR: The ruling Congress earned over Rs 2,000 crores — more than double the amount that the main opposition BJP earned — in the past seven financial years from 2004-05 to 2010-11 . During the same period , the BJP earned around Rs 995 crores, the BSP over Rs 438 crores, the CPM over Rs 417 crores, the SP over Rs 278 crores and the Janata Dal just about Rs 27 crores.

The earning and expenditure figures of the political parties were released here by the NGOs, National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and its state unit the Rajasthan Election Watch (REC) on Thursday.

As per the information gathered by the ADR under the Right to Information Act, the Congress has shown its maximum income from sale of coupons, followed by donations and interest earnings. The top sources of income for BJP, BSP, SP, CPM and the JD were 'voluntary' contributions and membership fees.

From foreign donations, the BJP received over Rs 19.42 crores and the Congress received over Rs 9.83 crores. In the year 2006-07 , the BJP's top four foreign donors included the Dow Chemical International Pvt Ltd, which took over the Union Carbide Corporation from whose Bhopal plant a poisonous gas killed thousands in December 1984.

CM top donor to state Congress

From Rajasthan, the Congress received Rs 88,21,381 through 65 donors, while the BJP received Rs 98,89,000 through 19 donors between 2004-05 and 2011-12 . Further, three of the top five donors to both the parties in Rajasthan are same—National Engineering Industries Ltd, PI Industries Ltd and Shree Cement.

Among the politicians, chief minister Ashok Gehlot is the top donor to the Congress, followed by cabinet minister Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya. P 4 FLOW OF MONEY

Vedanta group top donor to Congress, BJP

The Vedanta group is the top donor to both, the Congress and the BJP. The group's subsidiary , Sterlite Industries donated Rs 6 crores and Sesa Goa Ltd donated over Rs 2.78 crore to the Congress , while its Public and Political Awareness Trust donated Rs 1.45 crore and the Madras Aluminium Co Ltd donated Rs 3.5 crore to the BJP between 2004-05 and 2010-11 .

"BJP tops the list of maximum donations (domestic and foreign ) collected between 2004-05 and 2010-11 with Rs 820 crores , which is 82.43% of its total income , while the Congress received donations of over Rs 272 crores ,whichis13.57%of its income in the same period ," said Anil Bairwal , the ADR's national coordinator . For JD, 97.48% of its total income was from donations , while BSP received 70.1% (or Rs 307.3 crores ) of its income from donations .

"In spite of a total income of Rs 2008.71 crore , the Congress has declared that only 8.85% of its income is covered by donations above Rs 20,000. Similarly , of the BJP's total income of Rs 994.76 crore , only 19.46% is coming from donations above Rs 20,000. And strangely enough , the BSP with a total 'donations' of Rs 307.31 crore , has not a single donation of above Rs 20,000," Bairwal said .

Pointing to the political parties' reluctance for transparency over their sources of funding , the ADR representative said , "Even though the parties claim income tax exemptions on donations aboveRs 20,000,they do not disclose sources of these donations ." It has been noted that some political parties were formed just to claim income tax rebates . "There are more than 1300 registered political parties in India , but only around 100 of these contest elections . Two partieswerefoundtobe formed only to avail income tax concessions ," Bairwal said . The ADR has demanded that the political parties ' incomes should be audited by the CAG approved auditors .

In what raises suspicions on the parties' disclosures about their sources of incomes , the ADR revealed that the BJP declared the maximum number of its contributors were in 2011-12 . "Their number stood at 1104 and they donated nearly Rs 33 crore for BJP. For the same financial year , the Congress had 342 donors who contributed around Rs 9 crore ," Bairwal said .

The Congress claimed it spent most of its earnings on election expenses , the BJP and BSP said they spent on advertising and publicity . The CPM's maximum expenditure was on salaries , while that of SP was on travelling and conveyance . The JD spent it on 'contribution ' to candidates and donations . CPM is the only other party whose top three expenditures include spending by way of donations .

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