Regional parties got 51% of their funds via electoral bonds in FY20: Report

The 42 regional political parties declared a total income of Rs 877.95 and an expenditure of Rs 742.535 crore in FY20. Illustration: Shutterstock
India’s regional political parties collected over half of their income from donations made through electoral bonds, according to a new report from the poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The 42 regional parties collected Rs 447.498 crore, which is 50.97 per cent of their total income of Rs 877.957 in 2019-20, the report said. Funding from electoral bonds is a part of the ‘voluntary contributions’ that the political parties get. Funding from voluntary contributions make up 77.03 per cent of the income of these political parties.

Out of the 42 parties, only 14 regional parties declared donations through electoral bonds. The list features political outfits such as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal (Secular), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), among others.

Electoral bonds, which give anonymity to donors, were the most popular mode of contributions to regional political parties for FY20, the report added.

In comparison, over 62 per cent of the total income of seven national parties came from donations through electoral bonds (Rs 2,993.826 crore) in FY20.

The 42 parties declared a total income of Rs 877.95 and an expenditure of Rs 742.535 crore during the year.

The parties with the highest total declared income were TRS, Shiv Sena, YSR-C, TDP and BJD. The TRS topped the list with the highest income of Rs 130.46 crore or 14.86 per cent among all the 42 regional parties whose audit reports are available, the report showed.

Of the lot, TRS has the highest donations worth Rs 89.15 crore or 68.34 per cent of its total income through electoral bonds. The party was followed by TDP, which declared electoral bonds of Rs 81.60 crore or 89.15 per cent, and YSR-C with Rs 74.35 crore or 80.171 of its income.

Where did the parties spend their money?

During the year, these regional political parties spent a total of Rs 742.54 crore.

The most common items of expenditure are election expenses, and administrative and general costs, according to ADR’s report.

In terms of the total declared expenditure, BJD spent the highest at Rs 186.13 crore followed by TDP and Shiv Sena, which spent Rs 108.84 crore and Rs 98.379 crore each.

Pouring on elections

Of the 43 regional political parties, 12 incurred over 65 per cent of their total expenditure on election campaign expenditure or propaganda.

Among the five parties that have reported spending the highest overall amount, BJD spent the maximum at Rs 178.68 crore. This is against an income of Rs 90.35 crore that the party earning in the year. BJD was followed by Shivsena and TDP, which spent 77.59 crore and Rs 72.28 crore on election expenditure.

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