Monetary resources are very important to win elections in any democratic country. The elections in India cost far less than countries like the United States but still, money plays an important role for any political party. The amount of donation any party receives greatly influences its electoral prospects in upcoming elections. The ruling party is always at the forefront of bagging monetary contributions for corporate.
There are ideological considerations too. A party that is more capitalist on the ideological spectrum is more likely to receive heavy donations from corporates. Therefore, a higher corporate donation to any party also suggests that winnability of that party is higher for upcoming elections.
After the dismal performance by the Congress party in 2019 general elections, the corporate donations to the party reduced drastically. Due to the scarcity of funds, the party management has asked the functionaries and many wings to reduce expenditures. Some paid workers and professionals have been fired and many have not received salaries in the last few months.
As the party has lost power in Karnataka too, the corporate donations to the party will be reduced further. The Southern state has the highest GDP among the states currently under Congress government. Karnataka is fourth on the list of the Indian states by GDP with 15.42 lakh crore rupees (220 Billion US Dollars) gross production in 2018-19. The state’s capital – Bengaluru is headquartering of some of India’s largest corporate houses. Karnataka was like lone milking cow for the fund starved Congress party.
It was Karnataka which sustained the Congress through Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan assembly election campaigns. The lack of funds is likely to hit the organizational capability of the Congress in the aftermath of the loss of Karnataka.
Now the cash-starved party would have to further reduce the expenditures on essential party activities. Earlier the party has asked the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and women’s wing to find ways to reduce expenses. Congress has reduced the monthly budget of Congress Seva Dal, an organization built as a counter to RSS from 2.5 lakh rupees to 2 lakh rupees. As per a report by India Today, “Congress sources said deliberations are on within the party whether it needs the data intelligence wing anymore. Besides this, many who are working at the Congress headquarters have not received their salary for some months now.”
Congress party is facing problems since the Modi government introduced electoral bonds. The electoral bonds were introduced to cleanse the system of political funding in the country. The funds’ crunch in Congress just after the nation has moved towards a transparent system is suggestive of the fact that most of its funding was through grey channels.
The corporate and individual donors back the parties with high prospects. Therefore, the reduction in funding to Communist parties and Congress suggests that their political prospects are low in the upcoming elections. BJP alone bagged almost two-third of total funding which means that its political prospects are high in upcoming assembly elections in the state of Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand.
Lack of a determined and strong leadership is also 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.