An analysis of donations to India’s seven national political parties, during the fiscal year 2017–18, revealed that the Bharatiya Janata Party received over 13 times the amount as the remaining six—the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the Trinamool Congress, and the Bahujan Samaj Party—put together. The Association for Democratic Reforms, or ADR—an NGO working on electoral reforms—prepared the report on the basis of Election Commission data on all donations of above Rs 20,000 to the national parties. As per the data, the sum total of all donations declared was Rs 469.89 crore, of which the BJP accounts for Rs 437.04 crore—93 percent. The BSP declared that it did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000, as it has consistently stated for the past 12 years.
After the BJP, the Congress received the highest contributions, at Rs 26.65 crore. The CPI (M) received Rs 2.75 crore, followed by the NCP which received Rs 2.08 crore, then the CPI with Rs 1.14 crore and finally the Trinamool Congress which received donations worth Rs 0.2 crore. “The BJP has been receiving more money than the Congress and other parties in recent years and the latest figures confirm this,” Anil Verma, head of the ADR and National Election Watch—a civil-society coalition working on electoral reforms—told me. “The trend we have seen is that before the general elections there will again be a spike.”
A breakdown of the geographical origins of the donations revealed that Delhi accounted for the maximum at Rs 208.56 crore, followed by Maharashtra at Rs 71.93 crore, Gujarat at Rs 44.02 crore and Karnataka at Rs 43.67 crore. This break-up was computed by analysing the addresses against the donations, as provided by the parties in their reports to the Election Commission. This is done in accordance with Section 29C of the Representation of People Act of 1951, which states that all political parties have to submit details of all contributions in excess of Rs 20,000 to the EC.