Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has informed the Election Commission that it will submit its annual audit report to the poll panel in a month’s time, days after Congress submitted the same, albeit “under protest”.
While a majority of recognised state political parties had complied with the EC directions in this regard and adhered to the October 31, 2014 deadline, the two large national parties had been defaulting which prompted the EC to issue them reminders a number of times.
The BJP, sources said, has now informed the poll panel that it would comply with its directions and submit its annual audit report for 2013-14 in four weeks’ time to it.
The Congress submitted the same report on July 10, however, under protest.
Congress Treasurer Motilal Vora, in his letter to the panel, had said while the party was filing the said report, it was making it clear that it “disputes” the powers of the EC to summon such a report from it.
Earlier, among the national recognised parties, only BSP had filed its annual audit report to the EC within the stipulated deadline while the NCP, CPI and CPI (Marxist) did so at varying times this year.
The EC, while summoning these reports from the parties, had cited Supreme Court judgements made in its favour, to say that obtaining these reports from political parties is “essential for maintaining transparency in the functioning of political parties, which is a basic ingredient for conduct of free and fair election.”
The EC had conducted “due consultations” in this regard with all recognised political parties in the past and subsequently issued guidelines in favour of “larger public interest of transparency and accountability.”
“These guidelines (for submission of annual audit reports and contribution reports of parties to EC) have been made applicable to all political parties without any discrimination,” it had said.
Congress has since then been contesting the EC’s powers on these subjects but recently submitted the report to it “under protest”.
The poll panel, in it its earlier communication on the issue to political parties, has said that these reports are essential to be given to it, as electors have the right to know that the funds raised by political parties, on which tax exemption has been allowed, are spent for the objectives mentioned in the Memorandum of issue of the parties.