Electoral Bonds: 84% of Top Donors Channel Funds to BJP

The latest data released by the Election Commission unveils a striking trend in political donations, with a staggering 84% of the top individual donors directing their contributions to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) through electoral bonds. This revelation sheds light on the significant financial advantage enjoyed by the BJP in electoral campaigns, raising pertinent questions about the transparency and fairness of the political funding landscape.

Between April 12, 2019, and January 11, 2024, the top 10 individual donors collectively purchased electoral bonds amounting to ₹180.2 crore. Out of this sum, an overwhelming majority of ₹152.2 crore flowed into the BJP’s coffers, underscoring the party’s formidable financial prowess in electoral battles.

Leading the pack of donors is ArcelorMittal’s chairperson, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, who contributed a substantial ₹35 crore exclusively to the BJP. Following closely is Laxmi Das Vallabhdas Merchant, Group Controller of Reliance Industries Ltd, who allocated his entire ₹25 crore donation to the BJP in November 2023.

Notably, the top donors exhibited a clear preference for the BJP, with individuals like KR Raja JT, Inder Thakurdas Jaisinghani, and others solely channeling their funds to the ruling party. Jaisinghani, the chairperson and managing director of Polycab India, and the Joshi father-son duo, associated with multiple freight companies, exemplify this trend.

However, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) emerged as the second-largest recipient, receiving ₹16.2 crore, primarily from IndiGo’s Rahul Bhatia. Bhatia’s dual donations, including a substantial sum to the TMC and a smaller contribution to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), highlight the diversity in political funding strategies.

The data also reveals interesting patterns in cross-party donations. Rajesh Mannalal Agrawal, CEO of Ajanta Pharma, demonstrated a balanced approach by allocating funds to the BJP, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), and Congress. Similarly, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon contributed to multiple parties, including the BJP, Janata Dal (Secular), and Congress, underscoring a nuanced approach to political financing.

While electoral bonds offer a veil of anonymity to donors, they also raise concerns about transparency and accountability in political funding. The disproportionate flow of funds to certain parties calls for greater scrutiny and regulatory measures to uphold the integrity of the electoral process.

As India gears up for future elections, it is imperative to foster a fair and transparent funding ecosystem that ensures a level playing field for all political stakeholders. Only through comprehensive reforms can we safeguard the democratic principles upon which our nation stands.


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