Hyderabad: City-based ILABS Technologies represented by Srinivasaraju Chintalapati and Megha Engineering, India's fastest growing infra company, are the biggest donors for the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019-20.
According to the annual contribution report submitted by BJP to the election commission of India, Megha Engineering and ILABS have donated Rs 5 crores each, the highest contributed from Hyderabad.
The two companies are closely followed by the NACTO Pharma group which donated Rs 80 lakh. MSN group has donated Rs 40 lakh and Hetero drugs Rs 25 lakh. Other individuals limited their contribution to a few lakhs.
The ruling party at the Centre received a whopping Rs 785.77 crore as donations (above Rs 20,000) for 2019-20. This is the seventh year in a row when the party has received the highest donations from individuals and corporates in the country. The total receipts will be much more if the number of donations (below Rs 20,000) is taken into consideration.
The BJP's biggest financial strength comes from Electoral Trusts. Prudent Electoral Trust donated Rs 217 crore; Jankalyan Electoral Trust donated Rs 45.95 Cr, and ITC Rs 76 cr. Its major share came from Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad.
It may be recalled here that Prudent Electoral Trust was in the news for contributing Rs 144 crore (about 82 percent) of its total Rs 169 crore FY 2018 income to the BJP in 2018-2019. Located at Bahadurshah Zafar Marg in New Delhi, Prudent was earlier known as Satya Electoral Trust. Incorporated a year before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it is touted as one of the richest among 22 Electoral Trusts registered in India.
Prudent is a trust set up by a giant corporation. Many companies route money to political parties through this trust. The body usually submits its list of contributors to the Election commission of India.
Unlike other states where MPs and Chief Ministers donated in crores, no BJP MLA or parliamentarian from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh was identified among the donors. Pertinently, the BJP-led NDA government has yet not disclosed its donations received through electoral bonds.
Congress receives Rs 139 Cr donation in 2019; Prudent Trust emerges top donor
Indian National Congress received Rs 139 crore donations in the last fiscal. The party received Rs 1,39,01,62000 crore for the financial year ending March 2020. This is Rs 7 crore less than the funds received in the preceding financial year.
An independent analysis by NewsMeter found that India's richest electoral trust 'Prudent' turned out to be INC's top financer. Out of the total donations received, Rs 31 crore was contributed by Prudent.
Apart from Prudent, Mumbai based Jankalyan Electoral trust donated Rs 25 crore, the second-highest on the list. Followed by 'New Democratic Electoral Trust', INC received Rs 10 crore from the Chennai-based trust.
Interesting, many Congress bigwigs starting from former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, former president Rahul Gandhi, interim party president Sonia Gandhi, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, former Congress leader turned BJP MP Jyotiaditya M Scindia, millionaire MP T Subbarami Reddy donated a sum of Rs 54,000. However, they do not figure in the top donors' list.
The party received hefty donations from corporate houses. Among the high-paying corporate donors for the INC is ITC Limited. The company donated Rs 4.68 crore. Other top donors include Muthoot Finance Ltd (Rs 3 crore); B.G Shirke Constructions Technology Private Limited. From Hyderabad, Megacity constructions, Gaytri projects figured in the list
"It is clear that political parties need money. The mystery however is that the sources from where the money comes are shrouded in secrecy. All political parties do declare their annual income via their income tax returns but it is believed that the money is small proportion. Even in the IT returns, an analysis showed that the source of 75-80 % of the income of all parties, on average was 'unknown'," said Professor Prof Jagdeep Chhokar of the Association for democratic reforms, an election watch body.
He said the government in 2013 introduced a scheme `Electoral Trust' under which corporations could set up trusts for collecting and donating money to parties. "The ostensible intention behind the scheme was that this would prevent direct transaction between political parties and corporates. This was of no use because it was well known which corporate had set up which trust. Last and latest innovation in the form of electoral bonds introduced in 2017 has made the process of political funding completely opaque. This is not conducive to a healthy democracy and is likely to result in corporates controlling the actions of the government," he said.
While the reasons behind funding are no secret, there is no free lunch. Therefore corporates do not give money to parties of their own free will. They donate because they expect a quid-pro-quo (favors of the government) once the party comes to power.