FOR AT least the seventh year in a row, the BJP has topped the charts when it comes to receiving corporate and individual donations, latest data show.
In 2019-20, the party received roughly Rs 750 crore in donations from companies and individuals, according to its contribution report submitted to the Election Commission (EC).
This is at least five times more than what the Congress party received (Rs 139 crore). The NCP got Rs 59 crore, TMC Rs 8 crore, CPM Rs 19.6 crore, and the CPI Rs 1.9 crore in the same period.
BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s Jupiter Capital, the ITC Group, real estate companies Macrotech Developers (earlier known as Lodha Developers) and B G Shirke Construction Technology, the Prudent Electoral Trust, and Jankalyan Electoral Trust were among the BJP’s biggest donors (see box).
An electoral trust is a Section 25 company that receives voluntary contributions, mainly from corporate houses, and distributes them to political parties. It offers donors anonymity while making a political contribution. The Prudent Electoral Trust has Bharti Enterprises, GMR Airport Developers and DLF Limited as its major donors. The Jankalyan Electoral Trust receives funds from companies of the JSW Group.
The BJP also received a sizable donation of Rs 20 crore from Gulmarg Realtors, the real estate company associated with builder Sudhakar Shetty, in October 2019. The Enforcement Directorate had raided Shetty’s residence and office in January 2020.
At least 14 educational institutions were also among the BJP’s donors. These include Mewar University, Delhi (Rs 2 crore), Krishna Institute of Engineering (Rs 10 lakh), G D Goenka International School, Surat (Rs 2.5 lakh), Pathania Public School, Rohtak (Rs 2.5 lakh), Little Hearts Convent School, Bhiwani (Rs 21,000), and Allen Career, Kota (Rs 25 lakh).
There are many BJP members, MPs and MLAs among the party’s donors. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar contributed Rs 5 lakh, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar Rs 2 crore, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu Rs 1.1 crore, Kirron Kher Rs 6.8 lakh among others. Chairman of Manipal Global Education T V Mohandas Pai donated Rs 15 lakh.
The total contributions that the BJP received in 2019-20 is expected to be much more than Rs 750 crore since the contribution report only lists donations above Rs 20,000 made by individuals, companies, electoral trusts and associations.
The party’s income from electoral bonds is not known yet as it’s yet to submit its annual audit report. The EC has extended the deadline for submission of the annual audit reports for 2019-20 to June 30. The BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of the electoral bonds scheme since its launch in 2018.