I thought I was horrified by the blatant seeking of foreign funds by BJP on their website in complete disregard of the FCRA. But this one is creepier. Maybe.
Curious to know how the Congress collects online donations, I searched for "Indian National Congress donate" and found no results from any Congress website. Searched around a bit more. Then "How to donate to Congress Party". Nothing. Zero relevant results.
The Congress party is the largest party in the country with the greatest collection of funds. It also has over 80% of its funding unaccountable. The best I could find was the usual list of declared donations.
There were no forum posts asking party members to pay, no blog posts urging supporters to pay. No nothing. At least not in google results.
It is no secret that most funds of political parties are unaccounted for:
The Congress party had declared that its main source of income was through selling of coupons (Rs 1,171.61 crore), according to information received in response to an RTI filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Karnataka Election Watch (KEW).
This means that the Congress sold *coupons* worth Rs. 3,20,98,904 - daily. Every single day of the year. Sure, large events would probably sell more coupons, small events would sell less coupons. To put it in a different style, considering that donations above rupees twenty thousand have to be reported, assuming that each coupon was twenty thousand, it would still mean selling over one thousand six hundred coupons a day.
And the party appears to have done it without asking anyone for money at all, or mentioning any small donations, or asking cadre to go and fund raise or anything. There isn't a whiff of it anywhere. Never heard anyone on social media say they were going to raise funds either - now that I think of it. One incident from 2010 shows as first result for "Rahul Gandhi fund raising" similar barren expanses of no information for "Sonia Gandhi fund raising" "Congress party fund raising" "donate to Congress party" (without party gives results from US), and etc.
After much expert snooping, I can confidently say that not only is most of Congress funding opaque in terms of not offering accounts, if coupons have been sold to masses, there is ZERO evidence of it. No talks of "vouchers are with Sushil" or "donations were good today" even. Nothing. And I have done a hell of a lot of snooping when I confidently say I fail to find out even a whiff.
I had thought I was aghast at BJP's open courting of foreign funds. I have to admit I am even more creeped out at massive collections of public funds without a trace in public view.
And when a new book "Unknown Facets of Rajiv Gandhi, Jyoti Basu and Indrajit Gupta" written by former CBI director Dr A P Mukherjee says (according to Indian Express):
"Rajiv Gandhi was very clear that commissions paid as a routine by most defence dealers should be properly accounted for and not siphoned off by dishonest officials of the armed forces and politicians...he wanted such payments to be pooled and accounted for," Mukherjee has written.
"This (elections) leads to massive fund collections by important party functionaries all over the country, which leads to an almost unbreakable unholy quid pro quo nexus between unscrupulous party functionaries, ministers and businessmen. I could sense this as the party's general secretary or even as its youth leader earlier when I had to enter the political arena with considerable reluctance," Rajiv told him over coffee, Mukherjee has written.
I am thoroughly spooked.