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March 16, 2024

Infrastructure Giants Lead Electoral Bond Donations: Election Commission Report Reveals

India’s infrastructure landscape has seen a significant surge in political donations from key players in various sectors, as unveiled by recent electoral bond data released by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Cement, mining, capital goods, and infrastructure companies have emerged as major contributors, shaping the political funding scenario in the country.

The electoral bond records highlight substantial donations from the cement sector, totaling at least Rs 233 crore. Notably, Rashmi Cement, a lesser-known entity, stands out with a significant contribution of Rs 63.5 crore, while industry giant UltraTech Cement channeled Rs 35 crore into political funding.

In the mining and metals domain, notable names like Vedanta Ltd, led by Anil Agarwal, and entities affiliated with the Aditya Birla Group also feature among the top donors. Despite attempts to seek clarification, responses from these conglomerates regarding their contributions remained elusive at the time of reporting.

Megha Engineering and Infrastructure emerge as one of the leading donors, contributing a substantial Rs 966 crore. The Hyderabad-based company, renowned for its involvement in key projects such as the Zojila Tunnel and Maharashtra Samruddhi Marg, underscores its significant presence in both infrastructure development and political contributions.

With a projected revenue surge to Rs 35,000 crore this financial year, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure’s robust order book position further solidifies its influence within the sector, as highlighted by CRISIL Ratings.

Moreover, listed entities like KEC International and subsidiaries of the Welspun Group feature prominently in the donor list, indicative of the substantial involvement of infrastructure companies in political funding.

Despite controversies surrounding certain firms, such as the tax evasion allegations against Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company, these entities continue to play a pivotal role in India’s infrastructure landscape, often involved in high-profile projects like the Dhola-Sadia Bridge and the Krishnapatnam Port.

Similarly, the southern construction giant Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC) made notable contributions, despite facing challenges such as arrests in graft cases. The company’s involvement underscores the complex interplay between the business and political spheres in India.

Even green energy companies like Greenko Holdings and Shirdi Sai are not exempt from the trend, with significant electoral bond purchases indicating their stake in the political arena. Notably, Greenko Holdings is spearheading what it claims to be the world’s largest pumped hydro power project in Andhra Pradesh.

Amidst this landscape, Genus Power, a company specializing in smart meter manufacturing, also made substantial electoral bond purchases, reflecting the diverse array of industries involved in political funding.

The electoral bond data sheds light on the intricate relationship between India’s infrastructure giants and the political establishment, underscoring the need for transparency and accountability in the country’s electoral financing mechanisms.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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