The Bharatiya Janata Party received nearly five times more donations than the total amount obtained by the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and National People’s Party in the financial year 2022-’23, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms published on Wednesday.

The report, published on Wednesday, showed that the total donations declared by the six national parties last financial year was Rs 850.438 crore. Of this, Rs 719.858 crore came to the BJP, followed by Rs 79.924 crore declared by the Congress.

The Aam Aadmi Party declared that it got Rs 37.10 crore, the National People’s Party received Rs 7.479 crore and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Rs 6.077 crore. The Bahujan Samaj Party declared that the party did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during the financial year 2022-’23, as it has been declaring for the past 17 years.

Section 29 of the Representation of the People Act allows political parties to accept voluntary contributions by any person or company, except a government company. Section 29C of the Act mandates them to declare all donations that exceed Rs 20,000 to the Election Commission of India.

As income from donations under Rs 20,000 is not mandatory to be declared, it is termed as “unknown”. After the introduction of electoral bonds by the BJP government at the Centre in January 2018, contributions received through them were also included in the “unknown” category.

The Supreme Court, however, on Thursday struck down the electoral bond scheme, ruling that it is unconstitutional as it violates the right to information, freedom of speech and could lead to quid pro quo arrangements between donors and political parties.

Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from the State Bank of India and give to a political party, which can then redeem them.

The entire process was anonymous since buyers were not required to declare their purchase of these interest-free bonds and political parties did not need to show the source of the money. Only the total amount received through the electoral bonds was revealed to the Election Commission through the audited accounts statements.

Data from these statements have shown that since the electoral bonds scheme was announced, the BJP has received the largest share of donations through them as well.

Also read: In charts: BJP received more money from electoral bonds than 30 other parties combined

BJP’s share increased, Congress’ dropped

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms report, the total donations of the national parties during the 2022-‘23 fiscal year increased by Rs 91.701 crore, or 12.09%, from the previous financial year 2021- 22.

In particular, donations to the BJP increased from Rs 614.626 crore to Rs 719.858 crore, which is an increase of 17.12%. In comparison, donations to the party had decreased by 41.49% from 2019-’20 to 2020-’21.

The amount received by the Congress decreased from Rs 95.459 crore during the financial year 2021-‘22 to Rs 79.924 crore during the last year, which marks a drop of 16.27%.

BJP received nearly 90% of corporate funds

The declarations by the political parties showed that a total of 3,318 donations amounting to Rs 680.495 crore (80.017% of total donations) were made by corporates and businesspersons in the last fiscal year.

The BJP, at Rs 610.491 crore, received more than eight times the total amount (Rs 70.004 crore) of corporate donations declared by all other national parties. Individual donors donated Rs 106.724 crore to the party.

The Congress, on the other hand, got Rs 55.625 crore from corporates.

Delhi biggest contributor

A total of Rs 276.202 crore was donated to the national parties from Delhi, followed by Rs 160.509 crore from Gujarat and Rs 96.273 crore from Maharashtra.

Contributions worth Rs 22.348 crore, 2.63% of total donations, could not be attributed to any state due to incomplete/undeclared information provided by the parties.

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