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Political parties fail to come clean to ECI
ST Correspondent | Tuesday, 24 January 2017 AT 11:48 PM IST
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PUNE: It appears that only 22 political parties have submitted cash-in-hand declarations in response to the pro-transparency move initiated by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Interestingly, the major political parties Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena are not among those political parties whose audit reports have been displayed on the website. According to the ECI, the deadline for submission for all parties was October 30, 2016.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has declared nil cash-in-hand but bank balance and deposits of Rs 3.17 crore. Venkatesh Nayak, Programme Coordinator Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, said, “The audit reports of three national parties - the BJP, the INC and the NCP have not been displayed on the ECI’s website.” He suspects that these parties have not submitted their declarations yet.

According to the ECI website, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) declared the largest amount of cash-in-hand at Rs 3.56 crore. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) declared the second highest amount of Rs 39.98 lakh. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) declared Rs 26.59 lakh.

However, in terms of bank balance including fixed deposits, BSP reported the largest amount at Rs 507.22 crore followed by CPI(M) at Rs 282.23 crore and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) at Rs 244.29 crore and AIADMK at Rs 216.46 crore.

Nayak said these figures are from the end of the last financial year, namely as they stood on March 31, 2016.

The actual position vis-a-vis the cash-in-hand figures of these parties on November 8, 2016 when the demonetisation decision was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not known. How much cash they held in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 on that date is not known.

Nayak claims that several national and State political parties may not have submitted audited reports for 2015-16 yet. The website was last updated on December 31, 2016.

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