Corporate donations via electoral trusts to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) zoomed in 2016-17 with the ruling party at the Centre getting the lion’s share of Rs 290.22 crore out of the total corporate donations of Rs 325.27 crore made to ten political parties, says a new report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Prudent Electoral Trust received the highest contributions of Rs 283.73 crore in 2016-17 and distributed Rs 283.72 crore to nine political parties apart from the BJP– Rs 16.5 crore to Congress, Rs 9 crore to the Shiromani Akali Dal, Rs 6.5 crore to Samajwadi Party, Rs 1 crore each to Aam Aadmi Party and Shiv Sena, and the rest to the Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the People’s Democratic Party and National Conference.
The donations to the BJP were made primarily by two of the 21 electoral trusts registered with the Central Board of Direct Taxes – Satya/Prudent Electoral Trust, which received the biggest chunk of contributions from corporates like the DLF group, UPL Ltd, JSW Energy and Piramal Enterprises, Bharti Airtel, Essar and Grasim Cements among others, and the Janata Nirvachak Trust, said an analysis by ADR, a non-profit working in the field of electoral reforms.
Overall, there has been a marked rise in corporate donations since the BJP assumed power at the Centre in 2014. “Total donations to political parties during 2013-14 was Rs 85.37 crore, during 2014-15: Rs 177.40 crore, during 2015-16: Rs 49.50 cr and during 2016-17: Rs 325.27 cr,” ADR said in a report.