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Power makes political parties grow richer...

india Updated: Sep 17, 2008 01:15 IST
Chetan Chauhan

That political parties in power at the Centre can make more money than those out of power is understandable. Now here’s proof.

The Congress party’s assets grew at a rate of 28.5 per cent annually since 2004 — the year it replaced the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the principal ruling party at the Centre.

This is revealed in the Income Tax documents submitted by the parties, which were made available to NGO Association for Democratic Reforms against a right to information application.

The Congress received Rs 69.56 crore in 2003, Rs 153 crore in 2004. The contributions shot up to Rs 227 crore in 2005.

On the other hand, the BJP recorded a fall in the contributions it received annually after 2004.

While the BJP’s annual growth is less than India’s 8 per cent, the Congress party’s fund grew three times faster than the country’s economy.

Even allies of the Congress did well in its ruling years — the CPM received Rs 152 crore between 2001 and 2006. It was Congress’ new-found ally, the Samajwadi Party, that had the fastest annual economic growth — 40.9 per cent.

The party was followed by its rival in UP, the Bahujan Samaj Party, with a rate of economic growth of 32.2 per cent.

The source of income for political parties, excluding the Left parties, was from corporate houses and voluntary ‘donations’. The parties also earned from membership fees.

Dr N Bhaskara Rao, Chairman of the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) points out that “these figures are still not the total money that political parties get”.

“These are only those amounts that have been contributed by large industries. The parties are not required legally to declare contributions below Rs 20,000,” said Rao.