Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of Odisha is the second richest regional political party in India, revealed the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report. DMK is the richest in the country.

As per the report, the total income of 36 regional parties for the FY 2021-22 was Rs 1213.132 crore. The BJD reported having the second highest income of Rs 307.288 crore which is 25.33 percent of the total income of all the parties analysed, marginally behind DMK which has the highest income at Rs 318.745 crore. The TRS reported its income at Rs 218.112 crore or 17.98% of the total income.

Out of the 36 political parties whose data is available for both the years, 20 have shown an increase in their income from FY 2020-21 to FY 2021-22 while 15 parties have shown a decline in their income during this period.

The total income of 35 out of 36 parties has increased from Rs 565.424 crore in FY 2020-21 to Rs 1212.708 crore in FY 2021-22, an increase of 114.48% or Rs 647.284 crore. The BJD reported the highest increase in its income of Rs 233.941 crore (318.95%), followed by TRS and DMK which declared a total increase of Rs 180.454 crore and Rs 168.795 crore respectively, between FY 2020-21 and FY 2021-22, the report revealed.

While 21 regional parties declared that a part of their income remained unspent for the FY 2021-22, 15 political parties spent more than the income during the year. DMK has more than Rs 283.344 crore of its total income remaining unspent while BJD and TRS have Rs 278.658 crore and Rs 190.173 crore respectively, of their income remaining unspent for FY 2021-22, the report stated.

Given the anonymity provided to donors by the scheme, it is seen that Electoral Bonds have emerged as the most popular mode of donations to regional political parties for FY 2021-22. More than 70.30% of the total income (Rs 852.88 crore) of the 36 regional political parties analysed for FY 2021-22 is from Donations through Electoral Bonds. The most common and popular items of expenditure for regional parties for FY 2021-22 are election expenses/general propaganda and administrative/general expenses.

As per the data shared by SBI in response to ADR's RTI application, Electoral Bonds worth Rs 2673.0525 crore were redeemed by parties in FY 2021-22. While 67.79% (Rs 1811.9425 crore) of this has been redeemed by National Parties, 31.91% (Rs 852.88 crore) was redeemed by Regional Parties. For the FY 2021-22, only four National Parties (BJP, INC, NCP and AITC) have received funds from Donations through Electoral Bonds (Rs 1811.9425 cr) wherein the identity of the donor is not disclosed to the public.

Of the total regional parties that have submitted their audit reports, 10 parties (DMK, BJD, TRS, YSR-Congress, JDU, SP AAP, SAD, MGP and TDP) have declared receiving donations through Electoral Bonds worth Rs 852.88 crore.