Bharatiya Janata Party received donations of Rs. 20,00 and above, to the tune of Rs. 743 crore, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the financial year 2018-2019. This is the highest amount received by the ruling party through electoral trusts.
Half of that amount - donations to the tune of Rs. 356 crore - came from Tata-controlled Progressive Electoral Trust, while Bharti-controlled Prudent Electoral Trust gave Rs. 67.25 crore to the BJP.
The Indian National Congress (INC) also recieved its record highest donations through electoral trusts - at an amount of Rs. 146.7 crore - but is nevertheless overshadowed by the mammoth contributions received by the BJP.
Electoral Trusts Lead Corporate Donations
Progressive Electoral Trust was also the largest corporate donor to both INC and the Trinamool Congress (TMC), donating sums of Rs. 55 crore and Rs. 43 crore, respectively.
Progressive - an entity which was incorporated just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections - declared having made nil contributions to any political party in 2017-2018.
During this year, Bharti-controlled Prudent came up as the top contributor, with donations to the tune of Rs. 169 crore to political parties across India.
While the contribution figures are growing exponentially over the years, it must be noted that contributions made through electoral trusts form only a fraction of the overall income of the party, as it has been seen in the past.
Don't Forget The Electoral Bonds
Electoral bonds, which were introduced in 2017, provided a much bigger chunk of contributions in the year 2018-2019. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a political watchdog, estimated the amount of electoral bonds sold between March 2018 - October 2019 to Rs. 6128 crore.
In the month of April 2019 alone, which saw the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, electoral bonds worth Rs. 2251 crore was reportedly received by political parties across the country, as revealed by the State Bank of India.
Political parties are yet to file their annual audit reports (with the exception of Trinamool Congress), disclosing their total income and expenditure for the financial year 2018-2019.