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Political parties set up only to collect donations identified by EC

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Published on 22 Dec 2016 11:18 AM GMT

Political parties set up only to collect donations identified by EC
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New Delhi: The cat is finally out of the bag. Poll regulator, Election Commission, has identified the registered political parties which have not contested any election so far and existed only on paper, confirming the suspicion that they were formed only for money-laundering.

The number of such parties is 255 and not 200 as was given in some newspapers. The highest number of parties set up for conversion of black-money into white is located in Delhi state which is understandable. Delhi is also the national capital and headquarters of many corporate and other big houses flush with money.

The national capital has 52 such parties, according to the list published by a financial daily on Thursday. The second position is held Uttar Pradesh (41) and the close third by Tamil Nadu (40). Maharashtra is much behind (27) . Excepting Haryana (12), all others including Bihar (8) have the number below ten. Nagaland has the lowest, one, such party.

These parties were ostensibly formed for collection of donations from different groups and individuals who had unaccounted money and did not find any other escape route. Donations in cash below Rs 20,000, as per the current income tax rules, made to registered political parties, are non-taxable. Mainly for this reason, there seems to be a mushroom growth of such parties.

In all , there are over 1700 registered political parties in the country out of which seven are national parties and the rest regional and others including these "on paper" parties.

These parties' registration cannot be cancelled because so far the Commission has not been empowered to do so. It can at best derecognise these parties which it has already done. It can derecognise a party which does not collect a certain percentage of votes in parliament and assembly elections. For empowering it ,the Representation of People Act has to be amended which can be only done by the government and the parliament. The election regulator is reported to have already written to the government in this connection.

Meanwhile, a close scrutiny of last financial year indicates that donations in that year had gone down from the previous year. The decrease was to the extent of 82 per cent in case of the ruling BJP although the party had made the highest collection ( Rs 76 crores).

The party had gained between 2013 -14 and 1014-15 in percentage terms possibly because of the parliamentary election in 2014. Increase was to the tune of 156 per cent for the BJP while it was 135 per cent for the Congress.

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