The ruling BJP is the richest among India’s seven national parties, having declared assets worth nearly Rs 894 crore in 2015-16, said a report released by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Monday.
The document collated by the advocacy group went on to term the Congress, which declared assets to the tune of Rs 759 crore in the same period, as a close second on the list. While the BJP was found to have declared liabilities of around Rs 25 crore during that time, the figure for the Congress stood at Rs 329 crore.
The report was based on the declaration of assets and liabilities by national parties from 2004-05 to 2015-16. While assets include moveable and immovable properties, cash, vehicles, investments, deposits, loans and advances, liabilities comprise factors like borrowings from banks, unsecured loans and access to overdraft facilities.
In the 11-year period that came under ADR scrutiny, the Congress possessed more assets than the BJP until 2014-15 – the year of the great saffron triumph. The BJP did better than the grand old party the next year too.
In terms of the capital or reserve fund, the amount set aside by parties after subtracting liabilities from assets for party expenditure, the BJP scored the highest with Rs 869 crore in 2015-16. This was followed by Rs 557 crore of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rs 432 crore of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The reserve fund of the BJP increased by 700% through the 11-year period, as opposed to 169% of the Congress. The highest percentage increase in this respect was seen by the Trinamool Congress (13,447%) and the BSP (1,194%), the report said.
The average total assets declared by the seven national parties stood at Rs 61.62 crore in 2004-05, and rose to as much as Rs 388.45 crore by 2015-16. The value of the BJP’s assets, amounting to Rs 123 crore in 2004-05, increased by around 627.15% in 11 years. The Congress’ assets grew by 353.41% during this period.
The BJP said the rise in income and declared assets is a reflection of its ongoing campaign to usher transparency in funding. “Donations are being received in cheques, and we are building offices in each district and raising corpus that will provide interest for meeting party expenditure. All tax returns are duly filed, and we have decided to operate a single centralised bank account to ensure transparency in donations,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Agarwal.
The loss in the last general elections did not seem to have greatly affected the Congress in terms of fixed assets, which witnessed only a marginal dip of Rs 65 crore – from 767 crore in 2013-14 to 702 crore in 2014-15 — but went up to Rs 758.79 crore the next financial year.
A Congress functionary said on the condition of anonymity that the party’s collections come largely from concerted membership drives executed across the country, besides investing in safe instruments.
The BJP’s total assets went up from Rs 464 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 781 crore the next year, followed by Rs 894 crore in 2015-16. Without much liability, the BJP’s reserve fund also witnessed an almost corresponding increase — from Rs 437 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 869 crore in 2015-16.