New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Even as Parliament appears split over the contentious issue of MP's salary hike and the country reels under inflation, the data gathered from Right to Information (RTI) has disclosed that all political parties are in the pink of financial health.

Congress -- that has now been in power for the past six years-- has the highest income Rs 497 crore as on March 31, 2009, and its aggregate income has increased to Rs 1,518 crore between 2002 and 2009, while its assets have also increased by 42%.

BJP and BSP have declared their income for 2009-10 at Rs 220 crore and Rs 182 crore, respectively.

With national parties making a fortune, how can regional parties be far behind?

The maximum growth rate in total assets from 2002-03 to 2009-10 has been shown by BSP (59%) followed by NCP (51%) and SP (44%).

The analysis was arrived at from income tax returns, and assessment orders of political parties accessed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) under the RTI Act.

Parties have disclosed details of assets and liabilities following orders from the Central Information Commission (CIC).

Among the other parties, the income shown for 2009-10 by CPI is Rs 1 crore, RJD (Rs 4 crore), SP (Rs 39 crore), NCP (Rs 40 crore) and CPM (Rs 63 crore).

While Congress had the maximum aggregate income between 2002-03 and 2009-10, BJP came in second with an aggregate income of Rs 754 crore and BSP with Rs 358 crore.

The aggregate income for the same period for Rs 7 crore for CPI, Rs 15 crore for RJD, NCP (Rs 109 crore), SP (Rs 263 crore) and CPM (Rs 339 crore).

Another indicator of the growing wealth of parties is the trend of acquiring assets.

While BSP has been the most active in acquiring assets -- at Rs 286 crore --

Congress remains on top of the charts on this count as well.

BJP has Rs 261 crore in assets followed by CPM (Rs 185 crore), SP (Rs 178 crore) and NCP at Rs 32 crore.

As on March 31, 2009, the maximum capital fund was shown by Congress (Rs 549 crore), followed by BSP (Rs 286 crore) and BJP (Rs 246 crore).

RJD showed capital fund of about Rs 60 lakh, CPM of Rs 185 crore and SP (Rs 178 crore).

Congress has also shown the maximum amount of bank borrowing (Rs 49 crore) followed by BJP (Rs 13 crore).

In a statement, ADR and National Election Watch emphasised the need for political parties to have transparency in their accounts and funding.

"All advanced democracies of the world have detailed laws defining how the political parties should function. In India, several commission like the Law Commission of India, National Commission for the Review of the Working of Constitution and the Election Commission have recommended bringing in a law to this effect. Unfortunately, the law makers have refused to budge," the statement said.

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