The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is by far the richest political party in India, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said on Tuesday.
The ADR said the total income of the seven national parties has increased by 51 per cent, or nearly Rs 5.26 billion, between 2015-16 to 2016-17. It said the income of the national parties increased from Rs 10.33 billion in 2015-16 to Rs 15.59 billion in 2016-17.
The seven national parties are the BJP, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI), and Trinamool Congress.
The BJP claimed an income of Rs 10.03 billion, and an expenditure of Rs 7.1 billion during 2016-17. "This forms 66.34 per cent of the total income of national parties added together during 2016-17," the ADR, a Delhi-based think-tank, said in the report.
The Congress said its income in 2016-17 was Rs 2.25 billion, and expenditure was Rs 3.21 billion, which is Rs 960 million more than its total income.
The ADR said, the BJP’s income increased by nearly 81 per cent from Rs 5.70 billion in 2015-16 to Rs 10.03 billion in 2016-17. In the same period, the Congress’ income declined by 14 per cent Rs 2.61 billion to Rs 2.25 billion.
The think tank said four of the seven national parties – BJP, Congress, NCP and CPI – have consistently delayed submitting their audit reports for the past five years. It said the BJP and Congress have delayed submitting their audit reports by an average of almost six months.
It also noted the seven national parties collected 74.98 per cent of their income from voluntary contributions in 2016-17, against 60 per cent from voluntary contributions in 2015-16.
The CPI declared the lowest income of Rs 20 million, a mere 0.13 per cent of the total income of seven national parties.
The report said that 70 per cent of the total income of the BSP, 31 per cent of the total income of BJP and CPI and 6 per cent of the total income of CPI(M) during 2016-17 was declared unspent.
The BSP’s income increased by 266.32 per cent from Rs 473.8 million during 2015-16 to Rs 173 billion in 2016-17, while that of NCP increased by 88.63.
The report said that between 2015-16 and 2016-17, the income of the Trinamool Congress decreased by 81.52 per cent and that of CPI (M) fell by 6.72 per cent.
It said the BJP and Congress have declared donations/ contributions as one of their three main sources of income.
The maximum expenditure for BJP during 2016-17 was towards election/general propaganda, followed by expenses towards administrative cost.
The ADR recommended the Election Commission should direct political parties to not leave blank any part of the Form 24A submitted by them providing details of all donors above Rs 20,000.
It also demanded that full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under Right to Information (RTI).