A financial crisis is looming over the Grand Old Party, Bloomberg has reported, and the repercussions of this will surface during the general elections next year.
The Congress has reportedly curbed their expenses from operational costs to allowances to travel and even serving tea to the guests that arrive at the party office. The party leadership has reportedly stopped sending funds for the past five months, even to run its offices across various states. The party has urged its officials to step up contributions and contain expenditure in order to overcome the cash crunch that the party is facing.
Congress party’s social media head Divya Spandana was quoted as saying, “We don’t have the money." She said the party was not getting enough contribution through government bonds, compelling the party to opt for online crowd sourcing to raise money. Electoral bond is a new measure proposed for encouraging transparency in political funding. The Congress even had to crowdfund a candidate during Karnataka assembly polls.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, taking cognizance of the issue, said that it was nothing to be embarrassed about:
Meanwhile, the BJP has moved their party headquarters to a swanky, newly built office. With Modi’s popularity and Amit Shah’s strategizing abilities, the BJP and its allies have managed to rule 20 states, wresting several of them from their arch nemesis. According to a report from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the BJP declared an income of Rs 1,034 crore during FY 2016-17, a hike of about 81 percent from Rs 571 crore in FY 2015-16. However, the Congress has witnessed a drop of 14 percent with a total income of Rs 225 crore in FY 17.
The BJP is also the highest spender amongst all the national parties, the ADR report pointed out. The party declared an expenditure of Rs 710.057 crore during FY-2016-17 while INC incurred a total expenditure of Rs 321.66 crore, which is Rs 96.30 crore more than its total income.
While voluntary contributions, grants and donations formed more than 96 percent of BJP’s income, the Congress relied upon revenue from issuance of coupons as their main source of income, ADR reported. The BJP recorded Rs 998 crore from contributions, about 20 times more than Congress’ Rs 51 crore. Both the parties spent the most on elections and furthering their propaganda, with the BJP spending Rs 606 crore on the same.
The financial crisis that the Congress is facing is being described to undermine the party’s sheen in the upcoming general elections. The shortages would affect election campaigning as well as organizational mobility. A party official pointed out that the cash crunch prevented a senior leader from reaching an eastern state on time to supervise the elections which paled the party’s campaign giving an edge to the BJP, during the Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya assembly polls earlier this year.
ADR founder Jagdeep Chhokar elucidated that the Congress will face considerable hardship going into 2019 and that a “party that does not have money will be at a disadvantage in Indian elections”. Chhokar added that it is very unfortunate “but money in large quantities is abused in Indian elections” and that there is no limit to their expenditure.
The Congress’ coffers are running dry as a result of their electoral losses and subsequent dearth of corporate funding. Consequently, the party will have to exploit its limited resources to conduct impactful campaigns especially when a rich BJP will spend extravagantly to make a mark in the Lok Sabha elections 2019.