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Cong trumps BJP in party earnings over seven years, reports NGO

Political parties in India have 'earned' a whopping Rs 4,662 crore through donation and other sources since 2004 with the  Congress at the top with an income of Rs 2,008 crore followed by BJP at Rs 994 crore, two NGOs claimed on Monday.

Relying on the IT returns and list of donors submitted to the Election Commission for the period 2004-2011, Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch released a report on the income of 23 major parties.

They said the income of parties showed a steady growth since 2004. Congress' earnings went up from Rs 222 crores in 2004 to Rs 307 crores in 2011 as is the case with BJP.

The figures complied by ADR and NEW show that Congress' income is Rs 2,008 crores, mostly through selling of 'coupons', since it began heading a government at the Centre in 2004 till 2011 though the percentage of donations is just 14.42 per cent.

On the contrary, 81.47 per cent of BJP's total income of Rs 994 crore in the past 7 years came through donations from corporate houses and trusts owned by major firms, including London-listed Vedanta, the NGO said.

The NGOs said donations and voluntary contributions seem to be one of the major sources of income for most of the political parties and demanded more transparency in functioning of electoral trusts run by corporates and that political parties must be declared as public authorities.

'It is a black box of the political parties. Basic source of corruption in this country is political funding. By regulating political funding, we cannot end corruption, but can make a major dent,' Prof Jagdee Chhokar, Founder member of ADR, told a press conference here.

While national parties like Congress and BJP got donations from corporate houses and trusts, regional outfits like the DMK have received lakhs of ruppees as donation from its own partymen.

Surprisingly, the CPI(M)'s income from 2004-2011 is Rs 417 crore, mostly contributions from individuals who have given less than Rs 20,000 each, just behind BSP's 484 crore, while other major Left party, CPI, has earned only Rs 6.7 crore. The SP's income, according to ADR, is Rs 278 crores.
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