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The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) declared assets jumped by 627 per cent from Rs 122.93 crore to over Rs 893 crore between FY 2004-05 and 2015-16, according to an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
During the same period, the total assets of Congress increased from Rs 167.35 crore to Rs 758.79 crore, signifying an increase of 353.41 per cent.
The report titled 'Analysis of Assets and Liabilities of National Parties - FY 2004-05 to 2015-16' was released here on Monday by ADR and West Bengal Election Watch. Data from audited accounts submitted by seven political parties to the Income Tax Department and the Election Commission of India were used for the analysis.
Assets and liabilities declared by the BJP, Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) between 2004-05 and 2015-16 fiscals were taken into consideration for the report.
With regard to the declaration of assets by the national parties, the analysis finds: "During 2004-05, the declared assets of BJP totalled Rs 122.93 crore, which increased by 627.15 per cent to Rs 893.88 crore during 2015-16."
The average total assets declared by the seven national parties during 2004-05 were Rs 61.62 crore which increased to Rs 388.45 crore during 2015-16.
The total assets of the CPI-M increased by 383.47 per cent (Rs 90.55 crore to Rs 437.78 crore) and of AITC from Rs 0.25 crore to Rs 44.99 crore (176 per cent)."
"Whenever there is an election, there is a sharp increase in assets. They start collecting money the year before. Political parties should be transparent in their political funding. The biggest challenge for the election system is money power," Major General Anil Verma (retd), head of National Election Watch/ADR, said here, referring to the matter of issuance of electoral bonds for electoral funding.
The report said the CPI-M and AITC are the only two national parties to show a "steady increase" in their annual declared assets.
During 2004-05, the national parties declared maximum assets under FDR/deposits which amounted to Rs 183.442 crore.
During 2015-16, the highest asset category is 'other assets' under which the parties have declared holding Rs 1,605.114 crore, which formed 59 per cent of the total assets declared under various heads by the parties.
During that period, the CPI-M declared highest liabilities of Rs 20.285 crore followed by the BJP at Rs 14.298 crore.
"The total liabilities for FY 2015-16 declared by the national parties is Rs 383 crore, an average of Rs 54.71 crore per party. The Congress declared the highest liabilities of Rs 329.43 crore, followed by the BJP with Rs 24.99 crore."
The CPI-M is the only party to declare a decrease in liabilities, which went down to Rs 5.14 crore in FY 2015-16.
It recommends a change of auditors every three years and annual scrutiny of documents submitted by political parties among other suggestions.