Relying on the IT returns and list of donors submitted to the Election Commission for the period 2004-2011, Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch released a report on the income of 23 major parties. They said the income of parties showed a steady growth since 2004.
Congress' earnings went up from Rs 222 crore in 2004 to Rs 307 crore in 2011 as is the case with BJP. The figures complied by ADR and NEW show that Congress' income is Rs 2,008 crore, mostly through selling of 'coupons', since it began heading a government at the Centre in 2004 till 2011 though the percentage of donations is just 14.42 per cent.
On the contrary, 81.47 per cent of BJP's total income of Rs 994 crore in the past 7 years came through donations from corporate houses and trusts owned by major firms, including London-listed Vedanta, the NGO said.
The NGOs said donations and voluntary contributions seem to be one of the major sources of income for most of the political parties and demanded more transparency in functioning of electoral trusts run by corporates and that political parties must be declared as public authorities. "It is a black box of the political parties. Basic source of corruption in this country is political funding. By regulating political funding, we cannot end corruption, but can make a major dent," Prof Jagdee Chhokar, Founder member of ADR, told at a press conference here.