In Gujarat, BJP beats Cong hands down for corporate funds

Monday

Corporate entities gave over Rs 25 crore to Gujarat BJP and Congress in 2009-11 and while big companies based in the state funded both the parties, most real estate firms put their money on the BJP, according to data available with the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a group working for electoral reforms.

Firms like Torrent Power, Dishman Pharmaceuticals and Cadila Pharmaceuticals have been in the forefront of funding the BJP and Congress while most real estate firms have sided with the BJP, sources in the ADR said.

A total of 190 donors contributed to Gujarat's main two political parties, according to the data available with ADR, a body established by a group of professors from country's premier B-school IIM-A. The ADR has compiled donations by cheques in excess of Rs 20,000.

Details show Congress received contributions from nine donors while the BJP had 64 donors in 2010-11. In 2009-10, there were 11 donors for the Congress and 106 for BJP. This is as per declarations made by the two parties before the Election Commission of India.

Torrent Power, a power generation, transmission and distribution company promoted by Rs 9,500-crore Torrent Group, is the biggest donor to political parties in Gujarat. The BSE-listed firm, which distributes power to more than three million consumers in cities of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, contributed Rs 8.5 crore to BJP and Rs 7.35 crore to Congress in two years.

Listed companies based in Ahmedabad, like Dishman Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals Ltd and Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd, were among the top five donors in Gujarat and they gave only to the BJP. Detailed questionnaires sent to all these companies remained unanswered.

"The give-and-take relationship between politicians and corporates is known to all," says Bhagyesh Soneji, a city-based entrepreneur who is also the chairperson of Assocham's Gujarat chapter. "Frankly, most look for certain benefits or concessions from the political parties," he said, adding that industry bodies like Assocham have been constantly campaigning for greater transparency.

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