If the bank balances are to be taken to decide the wealth of a political party, the Bahunjan Samaj Party (BSP), led by Mayawati emerges as the richest party in the country. Its alliance partner in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party emerges as the second richest party. The BJP, which is in power at the center and also in most of the states, comes only in fifth place.
As per its expenditure report submitted to the Election Commission, the BSP has Rs 669 crore in eight accounts in banks in the national capital region. The party also has Rs 95.54 lakh as cash in hand. On the second spot is SP with Rs 471 crore in its bank accounts. It saw only a slight dip in its cash deposits after the recent Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana.
Congress is on the third spot with Rs 196 crore as bank balance. However, the party hasn’t updated the details since its victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly elections. Telugu Desam Party comes next with a cash deposit of Rs 107 crore, while BJP comes fifth with a bank balance of Rs 82 crore. This could also be attributed to the fact that the BJP claims to have spent Rs 758 crore which is the largest expenditure by any party.
Meanwhile, cash reserves of the SP dipped by Rs 11 crore during the November-December polls for the four Assembly polls. In contrast, BSP, which collected Rs 24 crore during these elections, saw its reserves improve by Rs 5 crore from Rs 665 crore. According to an analysis of income tax returns of these parties by Association for Democratic Reforms, BJP showed the highest income with contributions worth Rs 1,034 crore for 2016-17 and Rs 1,027 crore in 2017-18.
During the same period, BSP’s income fell drastically from Rs 174 crore to Rs 52 crore. Congress’s income for 2016-2017 is shown as Rs 225 crore. It has not declared its income in the following financial years to the EC. The report says that about 87% of the income of these parties is through voluntary contributions, with BJP the only one to have shown a gain of Rs 210 crore through electoral bonds in 2017-18.