Will lack of fund adversely affect congress in upcoming 2019 general elections?

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According to a Bloomberg report printed in May, Indian National Congress(INC) is suffering from a major financial crisis which might adversely affect the party from uprooting Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) from power in 2019 general elections.

The report said, the financial condition of the party has worsened since the corporate houses have stopped or lessened their funding. Due to less funding, the Congress had to resort to crowdfunding for one of its candidate in the polls.

Some party leaders “on background” told the Bloomberg that the party has not been sending funds to maintain party offices in many states for five months now. They added, to overcome the situation of a deficit, INC has asked its party stalwarts to contribute funds and to cut down the expenses.

The report quoted Divya Spandana, Congress Party’s social media department head as saying, “We don’t have the money.” She claimed that the party is not getting enough money from government bonds thus the party has resorted to online crowd sourcing to generate money. Electoral bonds are a newly adopted method of funding political parties to maintain transparency.

Congress veteran Shashi Tharoor reacted on the reports and said that there was nothing to be “embarrassed” about the cash crunch faced by the party.

While Congress is short on funds, its national counterpart BJP has been drowning in wealth. According to ADR –Association for Democratic Reforms reports, the BJP declared an income of Rs 1,034 crore during Finacial year 2016-17, an increase of about 81 per cent from Rs 571 crore in the Financial year 2015-16. However, the Congress has witnessed a drop of 14 per cent with a total income of Rs 225 crore in FY 2017. ADR reports also pointed out that the BJP has the highest expenditure among the parties.

Milan Vaishnav, a senior fellow for South Asia at the Carnegie Endowment commented, “Headed into 2019, the BJP has a decisive fundraising advantage, not least because the Congress and other key regional parties are seen as less business-friendly”, reported Bloomberg.

The financial deficiency faced by the Congress is likely to affect the election campaigning for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

While BJP is building extravagant headquarters and luring industrialists to invest in the party, Congress is curbing its expenses from operational costs to travel allowances to spending on wining and dining of the guests who visit the party office, reported Moneycontrol.

Ajoy Bose, an author and political analyst told the Bloomberg that the Congress can attract the corporate houses if they(corporates) believe that the BJP’s magic has reduced. Bose said, “The 2019 election will see a very rich party and a powerful government spending many resources on a hi-fi campaign, whereas Congress and other parties will run a simple, down-to-earth campaign.”

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