The Association for Democratic Reforms published a report on Monday which reveals that the Indian National Congress party is going through a rough patch financially. Its leaders though, are raking in the vast amounts of money, so much so that of the top 20 MLAs with the highest income in the country 10 are from the Congress. ADR is a non-governmental organisation which works with the aim of bringing transparency and accountability in Indian politics thereby aiming to reduce the influence of money in elections. The report by ADR was published on 17th of September at the Ahmedabad Management Association in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. In a previous report published by the same organisation it was established that the Congress had received just Rs 225 crore in donations in 2017 as against Rs 1,034 crore of donations received by BJP.
Congress social media head Divya Spandana had earlier in May come out in national media to state that the Congress coffers were running dry and it faced a severe lack of funds. The Congress leadership have also stopped sending funds required for running its offices in many places. Officials have been asked to cut their spending in order to save whatever remaining fund is available. Effects of cash crunch were clearly visible in its campaign during the elections of the North-Eastern states. It is expected without ample amount of funds the Congress party would suffer during the 2019 General Election campaigning and it would also affect its organizational mobility. Congress had then tried to get funds from crowd-funding and had also directly appealed to the citizens to donate to the party. Therefore it is surprising that the richest sitting MLA in the country today, N. Nagaraju of Karnataka, is a Congress leader. His income comes from agriculture and business which makes up for the whooping Rs 104.41 crore annual income. The annual income of the next four lawmakers combined is not enough to match the income of N. Nagaraju alone.
The second richest lawmaker in the country is BJP’s Mangal Prabhat Lodha, from Maharashtra with an annual income of Rs 33.34 crore. Congress’ B.A. Basavaraja from Karnataka and H. Vasanthakumar from Tamil Nadu occupy the third and fourth position in the rich list respectively. It is also no surprise that the richest MLAs have come from Congress ruled Karnataka, 203 MLAs from the state have the highest total and average incomes in the country with Rs 226.09 crore and Rs 111.37 lakh respectively. It is also another proof of Congress’s legacy that the highest average income comes from that section of the MLAs who have only passed Class 8th.
Congress should introspect before going to the public with their demands, charity must begin at home and if any funds are indeed needed by the Congress then they should indeed take money from their rich MLAs. A poor party formed of rich MLAs is a weird thing to think of, Congress has all it needs in its house itself. The report published by ADR yesterday exposes the hypocrisy of the Congress party which has given a free run to its lawmakers to rake in the moolah in states while it cites lack of funds as the reason to make its ground workers suffer. Lack of a determined and strong leadership is hurting the Congress party as no industrialist would want to contribute to a lost cause. The BJP is indeed capitalizing on the lack of trust in Congress. A course correction by the Congress party is an immediate need failing which the party will never be able to recover from the shock.