India's two main political parties, the Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, may unite to cry foul over foreign funds received by the Aam Aadmi Party which now governs Delhi - but they themselves are the biggest recipients of foreign donations, a study has revealed.
The two political arch-rivals accepted a combined Rs29.2 crore from foreign sources since 2004. The Congress got Rs9.83 crore while the BJP garnered accounted for Rs19.4 crore, according to a study by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Even as the AAP faces harassment from home ministry agencies over its foreign donations, the ADR has moved Delhi High Court against the Congress and the BJP for violating the law that bans political parties from accepting funds from foreign companies or companies in India controlled by foreign companies.
The study further said that as much as 87 per cent of donations to political parties between 2004-05 and 2011-12 were from business houses. During the period, national parties got Rs435 crore as total donation; and of this, Rs378 crore was from business houses.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got the largest chunk, Rs192 crore. It was followed by the Indian National Congress (INC), which heads the current coalition government at the centre, with Rs172 crore.
Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Group, the London-listed mining and minerals conglomerate that is at the heart of many environmental disputes in India, is the single largest donor to both the Congress and the BJP. Its arm Sterlite Industries India Ltd donated Rs6 crore to the Congress, another arm Sesa Goa Ltd contributed Rs2.785 crore; and a third, the Madras Aluminium Company donated Rs3.50 crore to the BJP in two instalments.
The Congress received donations from 44 domestic companies while the BJP had 43 such donors, while Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had 23.
And clearly, the principles of the professedly anti big-business leftist parties are not strong enough to resist corporate donations. The Communist Party of India-Marxist had 96 business donors and its junior ally the Communist Party of India had 12 donors.