Foriegn funding-Notice to MHA

fundingA bench of Delhi High Court comprising Justices Sanjay Kishen Kaul and Indermeet Kaur today, issued notices to the Union Government and the election commission of India on a petition that alleged that the  Indian National Congress (INC) and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have violated the Representation of People’s Act (RPA) 1951 and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by taking donations from government companies and foreign sources, which is prohibited under both the legislations. Continue reading “Foriegn funding-Notice to MHA”

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Financial analysis of Gujarat candidates

Pic http://english.globalgujaratnews.
Pic http://english.globalgujaratnews.

A total of 150 candidates out of the 401 analyzed i.e. 37% are crorepatis. In 2007, there were 21% crorepati candidates. This is the analysis of candidates contesting the second phase of the Gujarat elections analysed by the National Election Watch.
The top three candidates who have declared the highest assets are Balvantsinh Chadansinh Rajput of INC from Sidhpur constituency who has declared the higest assets worth Rs. 268 crores, followed by Siddharth Chimanbhai Patel, of INC from Dabhoi constituency with Rs. 71 crores worth of assets and D.D.Patel of BJP from Mansa constituency with assets worth Rs. 69 crores. Continue reading “Financial analysis of Gujarat candidates”

HP-Congress tops list of criminal candidates

HP Vidhan Sabha. Pic: Himchal Alive

In Himachal Pradesh, the Indian National Congress tops the list of most number of criminal candidates who will contest the forthcoming assembly elections. A report prepared by the Himachal Pradesh Election Watch in association with the Association for Democratic Reforms would show that out of the 445 candidates 65 have criminal cases pending against them.
Out of these 445 candidates analyzed for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections, 69 candidates or 16 % declared criminal cases against them. In 2007 assembly elections for the whole of Himachal Pradesh, 18% candidates had declared criminal cases against themselves. Continue reading “HP-Congress tops list of criminal candidates”

Himachal Pradesh crorepati jump- 16 to 33 percent

pic-merinews

The number of crorepati candidates in Himachal Pradesh has risen since 2007. In the year 2007 the number of such candidates were at 16 per cent and this year it has shot up to 33 per cent a report just released by the Association for Democratic Reforms and the Himchal Pradesh Election Watch states.

The affidavits of 445 candidates have been analysed out of which146 candidates i.e. 33% are crorepatis. In 2007, there were 16% crorepati candidates.

Continue reading “Himachal Pradesh crorepati jump- 16 to 33 percent”

Gujarat- Political donations and income

Pic: TOI

As the state of Gujarat braces itself for an election this year, it would be interesting to see the donations received by the political parties over there and also the list of candidates who hold a criminal background.

An analysis of the total income and donations prepared by the Association for Democratic Reforms and the Gujarat Election Watch would show that with regard to share of donations received in excess of Rs 20000 from the total income, a total of Rs 135.89 crore in excess of 20,000 was received by the INC between 2007-08 and 2010-11 whereas BJP has received 167.14 crore in excess of 20,000 between the same period . INC has shown that its share of donations received in excess of 20,000 from total income is a mere 9% and for BJP it is 21.71%. Continue reading “Gujarat- Political donations and income”

Politcal Donors in Himachal Pradesh

In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP leads the table with Rs 82,000.50 lakhs collected from donations over a period of 7 years, between 2004-05 and 2010-11, followed by the Indian national Congress with Rs 27,250.48 lakhs collected from donations during the same period.

The data analysis done by the Association for Democratic Reforms states that the BSP has declared a total income from donations to be Rs 30,731 lakhs (data for 2006-07 is awaited), followed by CPM (Rs 17,546.15 lakhs) and CPI (Rs 548.96 lakhs) between 2004-05 and 2010-11.

BJP has declared that 82.43% of its income has come from donations received between 2004-05 and 2010-11 while INC has only 13.57% of its total income derived from donations between the same period. 54.40% of total income of CPI; 42.05% of total income of CPM and 28.93% of total income of BSP have come from donations to their parties. The National Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has declared that it has not received any donation above Rs 20,000 from a single donor in 7 years between 2004-05 and 2010-11. It should be noted that the total donations of Rs 30,731 lakhs was declared by the party in its Income Tax Returns statement. Continue reading “Politcal Donors in Himachal Pradesh”

Cong. claimed Rs 300.92 cr tax exemption, Rs 8.42 cr free airtime

Pic: economictimes.indiatimes.com

The Indian National Congress got a tax exemption of Rs 300.92 crore between 2006 and 2009 while the BJP got Rs 141.25 crore on its income. The free airtime that the Congress got on Doordarshan and All India Radio during the elections was worth Rs 8.42 crore while for the BJP it was Rs 6.38 crore.

All political parties in India have been claiming tax exemptions on 100 per cent of their incomes as per the provisions of Section 13 A of the Income Tax Act. A report prepared by the Association for Democratic Reforms states that the total tax exemptions received by six national parties during the 3 financial years beginning from FY 2006 to FY 2009 is Rs. 510.02 crores. The maximum tax exemption during this time period (FY 2006-2009) was received by INC, which is Rs. 300.92 crores, followed by BJP that enjoyed the concession of Rs. 141.25 crores.

The tax rebates enjoyed by four other national political parties during the same time period are as follows- BSP: Rs. 39.84 crores, CPI(M): Rs. 18.13 crores, CPI: Rs. .24 crores, NCP: Rs. 9.64 crores.

Free air time on Doordarshan and AIR to political parties during elections

All political parties are provided free airtime on Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) during elections for canvassing purposes. Based on the data received under RTI we have been able to calculate only the revenue forgone by DD and AIR during LS 2009 elections and the elections in the 5 states that were held during Jan-Mar 2012.

DD and AIR have different commercial rates for prime time and non prime time telecast and broadcast. We have conservatively calculated the revenue forgone, by the Government, by using the non-prime time commercial rates. Therefore, the actual revenue forgone by the Prasar Bharti would have been higher. We have used the conservative rates of non-prime time in calculating the revenue foregone by the state. The revenue foregone by the state actually could be much higher.

The free airtime provided to INC during the above mentioned two sets of elections is Rs. 8.42 crores followed by BJP that got airtime of worth Rs. 6.38 crores. For other political parties the corresponding figures are- BSP: Rs. 3.96 crores, CPI(M): Rs. 2.77 crores, CPI: Rs. 2.62 crores and NCP: Rs. 2.89 crores.

State funded electoral rolls provided to political parties during elections:

Under the provisions of rules 11 and 12 of the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 two copies of the Electoral roll, one printed copy and another in CD are supplied to recognized political parties, free of cost, after draft and final publications.

It is normally understood that the Government spends only a trivial amount on the free supply of electoral rolls. However, according to our calculations the money spent is significant. We filed RTIs to various states in order to ascertain the cost per voter roll during the 2009 elections. We took a sample of 10 constituencies consisting of a range of constituencies varying from small to large constituencies.

One assumption we made was that the political parties received copies of electoral rolls only of those places where they actually fielded their candidates. Based on our calculations, the total amount spent by government, only during Lok Sabha elections of 2009, in providing electoral rolls to the six national political parties stands at Rs. 8.9 crores.

The maximum amount was spent on BSP i.e. Rs. 2.82 crores because it fielded the maximum number of candidates (500) during the LS elections of 2009. The corresponding figures for other national political parties are as follows- INC: Rs. 2.48 crores (440 candidates), BJP: Rs. 2.45 crores (433 candidates), CPI(M): Rs. .46 crores (82 candidates), CPI: Rs. .31 crores (56 candidates) and NCP: Rs. .38 crores (68 candidates).

State funding in the form of government land/offices provided to political parties

As per Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, there is a well-defined policy for allotment of land to the political parties. Political parties, accordingly, have been allotted large sized plots of lands in Delhi.

We have attempted to value these plots of land using highly conservative rate taken from category ‘B’ of Delhi Circle Rates of Nov’ 2011. The real market rates are substantially higher than this category ‘B’ rate taken by us.

INC has been allotted the maximum land area of 18737 sq. m. followed by BJP that possesses 10410.8 sq. m. of land. The corresponding area figures of other national political parties are as follows- CPI(M): 3732 sq. m., CPI: 1500 sq m., NCP: 1000 sq. m. and BSP: 2000 sq. m.

Our calculations of these plots of land based on the above mentioned highly conservative rate show that the value of land held by INC stands at Rs. 231 crores and the worth of BJP held land is Rs. 117.35 crores. The values of land possessed by other parties are as follows- CPI(M): Rs. 50.75 Crores, CPI: Rs. 16.91 Crores, NCP: Rs. 13.6 Crores and BSP: Rs. 27.20 Crores.

The cumulative value of the land that is in possession of these six national parties stands at Rs. 456.91 crores.

It is quite evident from these arguments that political parties receives substantial funding from government and hence they should be declared as public authorities in order to bring them under the purview of RTI.

Political donations- Only CPI gave info

All political parties in India except the CPI declined to provide information through an RTI on political donations.
A release by the Association for Democratic Reforms states that while CPI provided the information about their largest donors, their addresses, the mode of payment of these donations, etc., other parties either didn’t reply or simply said that they did not come under RTI.
In a letter signed by their then general secretary A B Bardhan, CPI said that it is a Public Authority as the organization is substantially financed directly or indirectly by government funds. It also said that they have an internal appellate authority in case we were not satisfied by the information received.
INC (Indian National Congress) however returned the RTI letter along with the postal order. In a letter signed by Motilal Vohra, it said that since AICC does not come under RTI, it was returning the letter along with the postal order fee.
BJP did not even respond to the RTI application. Neither did BSP. NCP replied but said that it didn’t have enough man-power to provide the information asked for.
CPI(M), also returned the RTI application along with the postal order. Through a letter singed by Hari Singh Kang, Member Central Secretariat, CPI(M), it said that CPI(M) is not a public authority as per the provisions of RTI Act and hence under no obligation to provide the information.
Making these replies the basis, ADR had filed a complaint with CIC in Mar 2011 to direct the political parties to give this information. This complaint has now come for hearing along with another complaint of Subhash Agarwal, a RTI activist.
ADR said in a statement that the leaders of all political parties publically maintain that they are committed to transparency and probity in the functioning of political parties. However when it comes to the implementation, their behavior is completely opposite. These replies bring to the fore the biggest farce that our democracy is plagued with – the opaque functioning of political parties with no space for engagement with the citizens and no willingness to open themselves to public scrutiny.
Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch in 2008 had also won the CIC judgement making IT returns and contribution reports of political parties available in the public domain. Even at that time all political parties had opposed to part with this information. CIC had however directed the Income Tax authorities to make this information public as there was huge public interest in the information.

19 criminal candidates in Uttarakhand Assembly

Uttarakhand has 19 criminal candidates in its newly elected assembly as per a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
Out of these 70 MLAs analyzed for Uttarakhand Assembly Elections, 19 (27%) have declared criminal cases against them. In 2007 Assembly elections for the whole of Uttarakhand Pradesh, 24% MLAs had declared criminal cases against themselves.
Out of these 19 MLAs who have declared criminal cases against themselves, 5 (7%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
A total of 32 out of 70 MLAs i.e. 46% are crorepatis. In 2007, there are 16% crorepati MLAs.
The MLAs with maximum assets in 2012 Uttarakhand Assembly is Rajesh Shukla of BJP from Kichha constituency with assets worth Rs. 26.63 Crores followed by Amrita Rawat of INC from Ramnagar with Rs. 13.57 Crores and Surendra Singh Jeena of BJP from Salt constituency with assets worth Rs. 7.04 crores.
3 MLAs have declared assets of less than 10 lakh.
A total of 6 (9%) MLAs out of 70 analyzed declared liabilities of Rs. 40 lakhs or above.
Among major parties, the average asset per MLA for INC is 1.87 Crore, for BJP is 2.02 Crore, for BSP is 1.21 crores and for UKD (P) is 1.27 Crores.
71% MLAs (50 of 70 analyzed) are graduates and above.
Out of 70 MLAs in Uttarakhand Assembly Elections 2012, only 5 (7%) MLAs are women.

Asset Increase:
Number of re-contesting MLAs analyzed for Uttarakhand 2012 Assembly Elections– 50
The average asset of these MLAs as declared in 2007 is Rs83,34,174(83.34 Lakhs).
The average asset of these MLAs as declared in 2012 is, Rs 2,30,46,876 (2.30 Crore).
Average asset growth for these re-contesting MLAs is Rs 1,47,12,701 (1.47 Crore).
Average percentage growth in assets for these MLA is 177%.
Rajesh Shukla of BJP from Kichha constituency has shown the highest increase in asset worth Rs.25.76 Crores (from 87.57 Lakhs in 2007 to 26.63 Crores in 2012), followed by Surendra Singh Jeena of BJP from Salt constituency with an asset increase of Rs. 6.26 Crores (from 78.00 Lakhs in 2007 to 7.04 Crores in 2012) and Yashpal Arya of INC from Bazpur constituency with an asset increase of Rs. 3.71 Crores (from 81.62 Lakhs in 2007 to 4.52 Crores in 2012).
The highest percentage increase (8433%) has been for Bishan Singh Chuphal of BJP from Didihat constituency. His assets rose from 1.18 Lakhs in 2007 to 1.01 Crores in 2012. He is followed by Mayukh Singh of INC from Pithoragarh constituency with a percentage increase of 4773% (from 6.30 Lakhs in 2007 to 3.07 Crores in 2012) and Banshidhar Bhagat of BJP from Kaladhungi constituency with an increase of 2968% (from 2.38 Lakhs in 2007 to 73.02 Lakhs in 2012).

The crorepatis in Punjab

Sukbhir Singh Badal (SAD) has the highest annual income at Rs 4.58 crores. He is followed by Parkash Singh Badal (SAD) at 2.00 crores.

The list of candidates analysed by the Punjab Election Watch for the forthcoming assembly elections also shows that a total of 92 candidates (23%) out of 408 candidates analyzed by the Punjab Election Watch for Punjab Assembly Elections have declared that they have never filed income tax returns.

While Sukbhir Singh Badal is the richest, Rana Gurjit Singh (INC) at 1.59

crores, Kewal Singh Dhillon (INC) at 1.53 crores and Deep Malhotra (SAD) at 1.10 crores as per their last filed income tax returns are on the third and fourth positions.

Out of the 92 candidates analyzed who have never filed IT returns, INC has 15, SAD has 11, PPP has 20 and BSP has 27. The top three candidates with maximum assets who have never filed their IT returns are Karan Kaur of INC contesting from Muktsar with total assets of Rs 128 crore, followed by

Ramanjit Singh Sikki of INC contesting from Khadoor Sahib and Gurpartap Singh Wadala of SAD contesting from Nakodar have total assets worth Rs 20.12 crore and Rs 13.71 crore respectively.

47 (12%) candidates do not have a PAN number of which 5 are from INC, 5 fromSAD, 7 from PPP and 18 from BSP. The top three candidates with maximum assets but not declared their PAN card details are Gurpartap Singh Wadala of SAD contesting from Nakodar with total assets of Rs 13.71

crore, followed by Brahm Mohindra of INC contesting from Patiala Rural and Sikander Singh an independent candidate contesting from Rampura Phul have total assets of Rs 6.49.

 Uttarakhand:

99 (36%) candidates out of the 278 candidates analyzed have declared that they have never filed ITR.  For BSP 31 (44%) out of 70 candidates, UKD (P) 24 (55%) out of 44 candidates, BJP 20 (29%) out of 70 candidates and INC 10 (14%) out of 70 candidates, have declared that they have never filed ITR.

42 out of 278 candidates analyzed (15%) who are contesting in Uttarakhand 2012 Assembly Elections have not declared their PAN card details. Out of the 42 candidates who have not declared their PAN details, 6 candidates are Crorepati.

Out of 278 candidates analyzed, 99 candidates (36%) have declared that they have not filed their ITR. Among them, Shahjad of BSP has the highest assets of approximately 6.52 crore followed by Kaleem of BJP with assets worth around 3.15 crores.