Total income of 32 regional parties Rs 321 crore in 2016-17; Samajwadi Party richest: ADR report
The Samajwadi Party (SP) earned an income of Rs 82.76 crore in 2016-17, the highest among regional parties recognised by the Election Commission and also spent the most that year, incurring an expenditure of Rs 147.1 crore, says a report released on Tuesday by the election watchdog, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
To be sure, the magnitude of that expenditure can be directly correlated with the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in early 2017.
The ADR report is based on the analyses of the total income and expenditure incurred by 32 of the 48 regional parties in financial year 2016-17, as declared by the parties in their income tax returns submitted to the EC.
Even though a November 2014 order of the EC makes it mandatory for parties to submit details of their audited reports, ADR says 16 regional parties did not comply with the order, the cutoff date for which was October 31, 2017.
Among the 16 parties are Aam Aadmi Party, All India Forward Bloc, Goa Forward Party, Hills State People’s Democratic Party, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Karnataka Janta Paksha, Rashtriya Janata Dal, and United Democratic Party.
“We issue reminders periodically to defaulters and if they don’t comply then we issue notices, if they still do not comply, then the parties become liable for action under Para 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968, which allow the EC to suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party for its failure to observe model code of conduct or follow the lawful directions and instructions of the Commission,” said an EC official who asked not to be identified.
Parties that did not submit audit reports for 2015-16 include Indian National Lok Dal, Maharashtra Gomantak Party, Jammu & Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, All India United Democratic Front, and Kerala Congress (M). HT could not reach out to AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal. An INLD spokesperson said the party had submitted its details for 2014-15. NC didn’t respond until the time of press.
As per the report the total income of all 32 regional parties for FY 2016-17, was Rs 321.03 crore. The richest party, the SP, was followed by the Telugu Desam Party (Rs 72.92 crore) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Rs 48.88 crore).
The most common sources of income were grants, donations, contributions, income from interest earned on fixed deposits; while the common and popular sources of expenditure were elections, administrative and general expenses, the report notes.
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