Who funds political parties?

There had been unusual rise in the funds of almost all major political parties during the past 8 years but the rising burden on a common man’s shoulder on account of skyrocketing prices of essential commodities have also been witnessed. The poor state of the national economy does not seem to have affected the financial health of the political parties.
The political business now a day runs with the funding, not from the common man but from the corporate sector or foreign companies. These corporate sector have taken the place of these ordinary persons. It looks that political parties are contesting the elections but the factual position is that the real contest is between Corporate Houses and lion’s benefit goes to these Houses and the common man is confined to the shouting of slogans to support the political parties.
Gone are the days when elections with small donation was from the businessmen, were contested.
Recently, the Supreme Court on hearing of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has ordered to investigate the funds being received by Congress and BJP from the foreign companies.
In fact, the political game cannot be played without funding. With the announcement of elections, the giver and taker of funds, both are very enthusiastic as during the elections, it is money which plays the every game. Now the funding during the elections has become a part of the political system. The corporate companies help the political parties in No.1 and No.2 which term is commonly used for paying in accounts and in cash respectively.
As per the provisions of law, in case any individual or institution gives financial assistance to political party’s up to Rs.20000, there is no need to disclose the name of the individual or institution. Thus, funding to any national or regional political party, about 75 per cent whooping income is in the name of ‘Gupt Daan’ – Secret Donations. And when the government is formed with these secret donations, then corporate sector gets back in the same way. In fact, the corporate sector gives political funds for their benefits and on the other hand, the political leaders treat the politics not less than business.
The political parties are banned from getting any funds from foreign but now the issue is in the court but the results of costly affair of elections in India are very important. If we believe the sources, the coming 2014 elections will be the costliest game of Rs.30000 crore and there will be no account of major part of this amount.
It is pertinent to mention that UPA in its last decisions have enhanced the expenditure during the elections for big states from Rs.40 lakhs to Rs.70 lakhs and for small states fromRs.22 lakhs to Rs.54 lakhs. This does not include the expenditure by the parties itself. As per the information given by the political parties to the Election Commission, more than 75 per cent is ‘benami’ – unaccounted out of Rs.4895.96 crores. There are speculations in politics as if the black money going out of India is coming back in the shape of political funds.
The facts by National Election Watch clearly speak the real picture about the election donations. The big corporate houses in India have established Trusts by Birla, Tata, Reliance and Bharti Group’s, to give donations to the political parties and they also get the income-tax benefits on these donations. The three major political parties were given donations from 2004-05 to 2011-12 to the extent of Rs.105.86 crore in No.1.
The analysis by International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistant, Stockholm says that India comes in ten per cent countries of the world where the political parties and candidates have been authorized to get secret donations. When the political parties were brought under the ambit of Right to Information Act, the political parties protested as they have to disclose the sources of secret donations. Now when the 16 Lok Sabha elections political activities are at its peak, the donations have started coming to the political parties. This time, BJP has started ‘one vote, one note’ campaign to cover up the receipt of unaccounted funds from big corporate houses.
Aam Aadmi Party has made public the receipt of funds. AAP has also floated the idea that the governments in the country are being run by Tata and Ambani. Thus, it is clear that when the big political leaders are in the hands of big Corporate Houses, the common man is nothing but just like an ordinary voter.
Frankly speaking, it is an admitted fact that heavy amount is spent on elections and political activities and the political parties have to generate funds. But at the same time, spending of unimaginable funds during the elections, have definitely created a problem for the economically weaker parties and candidates. These are not the good signs of healthy democracy. It has brought the politics under pressure of corporate Houses. There is a need to serious think over the costly election affairs and the solid efforts of for elections reforms by the Election Commission will only start from this point.
India gets the distinction of being the largest democratic country in the world but during the elections, the voters are influenced by the money funded by these Corporate Houses. Only the awareness among the voters has the capacity to make these big forces small.
There will be a sunny morning only with the government of the people, for the people, by the people instead ‘off the people, far the people, bye the people’ when the people of India will wake up.

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