Bharti Airtel’s Electoral Trust is the biggest donor to political parties
According to the report released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO, Corporate and business house donated Rs.921.95 crore to national parties in the financial year 2019-20, with the BJP receiving the highest share of Rs.720.407 crore. The analysis was done on the basis of details given by the parties to the Election Commission of India of donors who have made donations above Rs.20,000 in a financial year.
The five parties whose donations were analyzed include the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Indian National Congress (INC), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM). According to the report, out of the five national parties, the BJP received the maximum donations of Rs.720.407 crore from 2,025 corporate donors during FY 2019-20, followed by the INC which received a total contribution of Rs.133.04 crore from 154 donors, and the NCP with Rs.57.086 crore from 36 corporate donors. The CPM declared no income from corporate donations for 2019-20, it said.
The report said Prudent Electoral Trust was the top donor to the BJP and the Congress in 2019-20. The Trust donated 38 times in a single year to the two parties each, amounting to a total of Rs.247.75 crore. “The BJP declared receiving Rs.216.75 crore and Congress received Rs.31.00 crore from Prudent Electoral Trust and B G Shirke Construction Technology Pvt. Ltd was the top donor to NCP in 2019-20,” said the ADR Report.
Prudential Electoral Trust is linked to Bharti Airtel Group promoted by premier telecom operator Sunil Mittal. PGurus in 2017 reported citing the controversial lobbyist Niira Radia’s conversation about the curious pattern of Ratan Tata’s funding to all political parties. According to the leaked conversation between Radia and Ratan Tata’s private secretary, Venkat shows that Tata Group their Electoral Trust pays the donations to all parties during elections in two installments Tata Group through their Electoral Trust pays the first installment before the results and the second installment will be paid after seeing the results. This conversation was tapped in 2009 by the agencies. Even Sonia Gandhi agreed for two installments, says Venkat adding that two parties Mayawati’s BSP and CPI(M) insisted that full payment must be paid before the election results.
As per the ADR report, during the period from 2012-13 to 2019-20, the national parties received the maximum corporate donations of Rs.921.95 crore in 2019-20 (during which the 17th Lok Sabha elections were held), followed by Rs.881.26 crore in 2018-19 and Rs.573.18 crore in 2014-15 (during which the 16th Lok Sabha elections were held).
Corporate donations received in 2019-20 constituted 24.62 percent of the total corporate donations made between 2012-13 and 2019-20. Between 2012-13 and 2019-20, donations from corporate and business houses to the national parties increased by 1,024 percent, the report noted. The contributions from corporate/ business houses were divided into 15 sectors/ categories by ADR and do not form a part of the submission by parties to ECI. The sectors include trusts and groups of companies, manufacturing, power and oil, mining, construction, exports/ imports, and real estate, among others.
“Out of the total of Rs.921.95 crore donated by the corporate/ business houses to the five national parties in FY 2019-20, Rs.22.312 crore was received from the unsegregated category, which includes companies with no details available online or whose nature of work is unclear,” the report said. During 2019-20, electoral trusts were the biggest donors to the national parties, contributing a total amount of Rs.397.82 crore (about 43 percent). The manufacturing sector was the second-highest overall contributor in 2019-20, contributing a total amount of Rs.146.388 crore, the report said.
During 2019-20, BJP, Congress, AITC (Trinamool Congress), and NCP received the maximum contributions from electoral trusts. The BJP received the highest amount of Rs.323.32 crore, followed by INC (Rs.71.00 crore), AITC (Rs.2.00 crore), and NCP (Rs 1.50 crore).
It must be remembered that the ADR Report is based on the declarations by the political parties to the Election Commission annual. Some figures are difficult to digest like Trinamool Congress received only Rs.2 crores and Sharad Pawar headed NCP received only Rs.1.5 crore.
 Unheard Niira Radia Tapes – Ratan Tata pays political parties in two instalments in covert ways – Mar 01, 2017, PGurus.com
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