Bombay: When Bal Thackeray founded the Shiv Sena on June 19, 1966, he gave the party a slogan: “80 takke samajkaran, 20 takke rajkaran(80 percent social work, 20 percent political). As the party wraps up its 55th birthday on Saturday, it still insists it operates on the same principle.
But, the official party spending over the past six years tells a different story.
ThePrint analyzed Shiv Sena audit reports filed with the Election Commission over the past six years to find that a majority of party spending is spent on elections. In five of those years, the Shiv Sena’s election expenses outnumbered its social work expenses and reached 60-80% of the party’s total expenses in four years.
The Shiv Sena’s welfare spending exceeded its election expenses in only one of six years, which was not an election year. Even then, the Shiv Sena spent only about 32 percent of its total central fund on social work, a far cry from Thackeray’s motto of 80 percent social work.
Shiv Sena, led by Uddhav Thackeray, who is also the chief minister of Maharashtra, is known to be one of the wealthiest regional political parties in the country.
Party leaders say how the Sena spends its money shouldn’t be a measure of its social work and chakhas, its administrative units, at the base, do a lot of public good.
Vinayak Raut, a Shiv Sena MP, told ThePrint: âThe central party fund is only one aspect. Our shakhas exist with the obligation to focus on social work. Shiv Sena workers often spend out of their pocket for this. Our shakhas did a lot of work during the Covid pandemic too. For example, in Mumbai even in the first wave, Shiv Sainiks filled 56,500 bottles of blood. “
He added: âSo the policy may be changing, but in the case of Shiv Sena, the 80% samajkaran, 20 percent Rajkaran principle is still true.
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Most of Shiv Sena’s money spent on elections
A majority of Shiv Sena funds are used to contest the elections. For example, in 2019-2020, the year of two major polls – the 2019 Lok Sabha election and the state assembly poll later in the year – the Sena spent 77.58 crore of Rupees – about 79% of his total expenditure for the year of 98.37 rupees. crore – on election expenses.
In terms of absolute numbers, this is the highest amount the party has spent fighting the election in the past six years.
In 2018-2019, as the 2019 elections approached, the party spent 9.39 crore rupees, or 64% of its total expenditure of 14.56 crore rupees, on election expenses.
Likewise, in 2016-17, the year of civic polls in 10 of Maharashtra’s major cities, including Shiv Sena’s home territory in Mumbai, the party spent Rs 14.28 crore, or about 75% of the total of Rs 18.89 crore, for the elections. In 2014-15, the year of 2014 Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls, the Shiv Sena spent 24.92 crore rupees, or about 88% of its overall spending of 28.10 crore de rupees, for the elections.
The only two years in which spending on polls was much lower were two years without elections – 2017-18, when the Shiv Sena had just retained power in large municipal corporations such as Mumbai and Thane and elections to parliament and in the assembly lasted some time. a way; and in 2015-16, when the Shiv Sena had just joined the BJP government led by Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra.
In 2015-16, the party spent Rs 1.25 crore out of a total expenditure of Rs 6.19 crore on election expenses, while in 2017-18 election expenses stood at 2.27 crore of Rs. Or about 30% of the total of Rs 7.42 crore.
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Relief spending less than 1% for three of the six years
In 2015-16 and 2017-18, spending on aid and relief work was higher than in other years. In its 2015-16 audit report, the Shiv Sena classified the expenditure of Rs 2 crore as “angry at“(aid). This represents about 32 percent of the total expenditure for the year.
In the 2017-18 report, the party said it donated Rs 2 crore to the Chief Minister’s Farmers Relief Fund and had another entry of Rs 10,000 as “angry atâ. In total, this represents about 27% of total Shiv Sena spending for the year.
For the rest of the years, the Shiv Sena’s spending on social work was less than 3% – 2.4% in 2019-2020 when the party spent 2.41 crore rupees in aid of farmers and people affected by the floods. , and less than 1% for the rest of the years, i.e. 2018-19, 2016-17 and 2014-15.
The Shiv Sena’s balance sheet includes a restricted fund called ‘madat nidhi‘(aid fund), which has risen to Rs 1,30 43,995 over the past six years without any additions or deductions.
Six-year audit reports also show that the party also spent considerable sums on celebrating festivals and holding meetings. For four of the six years, the Shiv Sena spent more on festivals and meetings than on social work.
Over six years, the party has spent Rs 3.9 crore to celebrate festivals and Rs 3.62 crore for meeting expenses.
Maharashtra BJP chief spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said: âShiv Sena was known for his social work 80% at one point. Where is he now ? It doesn’t even seem to exist on paper.
“The party now has deep pockets, but social work has not changed”
Like Raut, the MLC Manisha Kayande party also defended the Shiv Sena by saying that its spending from its central fund and the work of its shakhas are separate, and while the former focuses on electoral work and other expenses, the latter advances the party’s welfare agenda.
âPeople are approaching our shakhas for work related to government, civic body, police, rationing and many other reasons, and our chakha the workers always help them. Also on the day of our foundation, we organized blood donation camps, food distributions to hospitalized people, mass distributions of disinfectants, vaccination camps, etc. âKayande said.
However, political analyst Hemant Desai said that although the party is richer, its view of social work has not changed.
Desai said that when Bal Thackeray founded the Shiv Sena, the party scarcely ran for office in the first two decades, so all of its non-election activities qualified as social work.
“This included providing free ambulance services, helping Marathi people find employment, whether through threats, intimidation or otherwise, organizing blood donation camps, joining unions, organizing demonstrations for various causes, “he said.
âEven today, Shiv Sena’s social work is, for the most part, of the same genre. With its funds, the Shiv Sena can undertake investment-based social protection projects. Aaditya Thackeray talks about the environment as one of his favorite agendas, so the party can use its funds to set up biogas plants or small wastewater treatment plants. Or during Covid, the party could have set up a helpline system for relief, but it didn’t, âDesai said.
“The new leadership has not changed the party’s vision of social work,” he added.
Read also : BJP and Shiv Sena workers clash over ‘offensive’ Saamana editorial on Ram Mandir land deal
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