Lack of funds quite clearly was not a reason behind BJP's defeat in the 2004 Lok Sabha election.
Statistics with the Union Minister of Law and Justice have revealed that BJP supporters had made handsome donations to the Party's cause that year. The funds collected by the Party added up to more than Rs 34.15 crore, a sum of money large enough to fund a small government scheme. It's a different story that the BJP failed to shine in the election.
The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party in the 2004 election, did not fare badly either. During the same period, the Congress coffer had accumulated more than Rs 32.05 crore.
The Union Minister for Law and Justice, HR Bhardwaj, while giving a written reply, submitted the statistics to the Rajya Sabha. He told the Rajya Sabha that under Section 29C of the Representation of People Act, it is mandatory for political parties to submit details of contributions to the Election Commission of India. Failure to furnish the details would take away the entitlement of the Party to tax benefits.
The funding details of 26 political parties were submitted to the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
No other political party is remotely close to either the Congress or the BJP in terms of gathering funds. Shiv Sena, interestingly, is the party third in line in terms of fund collection, followed by Rashtriya Vikas Party, Telugu Desam and Samajwadi Party. Sena supporters contributed more than Rs 4 crore to the party coffer in 2004.
Bhardwaj also informed the Rajya Sabha that 870 political parties are registered with the Election Commission of India. Out of 870, only 338 - less than half - have contested in at least one Lok Sabha or state legislative assembly elections.
The 2004 victory, it was also revealed, not only allowed the Congress party to lead the UPA coalition but also improved its fund collecting powers. For example, in 2006 Congress has received more than Rs 5.96 crore as funds, compared to BJP's Rs 3.61 crore, Bhardwaj told the Rajya Sabha.