The Congress had no cash deficits until 2014. It ruled over India for close to 60 years, and even when it was not momentarily in power, it did not feel the financial pinch, because the party knew it would eventually come back to power and loot the national coffers.
After 2014, however, that sentiment changed. Now, Congress has been reduced to an insignificant electoral entity at a national scale. The party itself knows that its chances of forming a government at the Centre are bleak, if not off the table as a whole.
So, that gives rise to two scenarios. Either the Congress party is bankrupt, or the family running it has been hoarding stacks of cash to be utilised when the financial drought exacerbates in the future.
Why do we say Congress is bankrupt? Well, it has not been paying its rent, and now, the same has led to a haunting humiliation for the party. No matter how shameless a party is, not paying the rent for buildings it occupies in the heart of the national capital is a new low – even for Congress.
RTI Reply Reveals Congress has been Evading Rent Payments
According to an RTI reply given by the Modi government to activist Sujit Patel, it has been revealed that the rent of several properties occupied by top Congress leaders, including the official residence of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, has not been duly paid in years.
The RTI reply by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Development states that there has been pending rent against Congress party headquarters on Akbar Road of ₹ 12,69,902 and the last time that the rent was paid was in December 2012. Meanwhile, rental charges totalling around ₹ 4,610 monthly have also not been paid for Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence since October 2020.
A bungalow in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, occupied by Vincent George, personal secretary to Sonia Gandhi shows pending rent dues of ₹ 5,07,911, to which the last time rent was paid was in August 2013.
As per the housing rules which allows accommodation to national and state political parties, every party is given three years to construct their office following which the government bungalow will have to be vacated. The Congress party has a knack for flouting all norms and evading payment of rent for properties its leaders have been squatting on.
Is it Bankruptcy or Cash-Hoarding?
Congress is faced with a massive financial crunch. In August last year, the Congress party had strictly asked its MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to ensure payment of their contributions to the party fund and had also issued austerity directives for its office-bearers across the country. The AICC announced a set of austerity measures for party office-bearers on travel and lodging, asking its staff to cut down on spending.
It was directed that up to a distance of 1,400 km, AICC secretaries will have to travel by train. They can avail air travel for distances beyond 1,400kms, but only two times in a month.
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.
Congress has governments in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Punjab. It is a part of the government in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Surely, there is a flow of revenue to 24 Akbar Road, but a significant portion of the same is likely being diverted to 10 Janpath. The dynasty seems to be hoarding cash, which is why it is unable to pay its rental dues. The question is, how long will it escape rent payments?