54% of 23 regional parties’ income came from unknown sources in 2018-19: ADR

More than half of the income of 23 regional parties whose annual audit and contribution reports were analysed came from unknown sources in 2018-2019, a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Monday said.

The report initially considered 52 recognised regional parties but only 26 of them had filed their annual audit and contribution reports with the Election Commission of India (ECI), the report said. Of the 26, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Lok Jan Shakti Party were left out of the analysis as there were discrepancies in their reports, the ADR said.

The total income declared by the 23 parties was ₹885.956 crore, of which ₹257.14 crore or 29.02% came from known sources (donations declared to the ECI) and Rs.147.54 crore or 16.65% came from other known sources such as membership fees, bank interest etc. A total of ₹481.27 crore or 54.32% of the parties’ income came from unknown sources, the report said. Ninety per cent of the income from unknown sources was through electoral bonds.

The Biju Janata Dal declared the highest income from unknown sources (₹213.54 crore), followed by the YSR-Congress (₹100.50 crore) and the Shiv Sena (₹60.73 crore).

“Since a very large percentage of the income of political parties cannot be traced to the original donor, full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny through RTI,” the report recommended.

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