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BJP claims no expenditure on publicity, travel during 2008 polls
National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) stated that political parties have spent Rs 136.88 crore during the elections held in Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections in 2008. According to their study, the BJP has declared that the party did not spend any money on publicity or travel or other expenses during the six Assembly Elections.

They found that the Indian National Congress (INC) has declared the maximum amount of Rs 102.56 crores as expenditure incurred during the six Assembly elections and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is the only national party, which did not submit its expenditure statement to the Election Commission of India (ECI). The Jammu & Kashmir National Conference is the only regional party to submit its expenditure statement to the ECI.

Political parties are required to submit a statement of election expenditure to the Election Commission within 75 days of completion of Assembly Elections.  The expenditure statement contains details of the total amount received as funds in the form of cash, cheques and Demand Drafts and the total amount spent under various heads.  The expenditure statement contains information on the amount spent on various heads at the state, district and constituency levels by the party.

Expenditure is declared under the heads of Publicity, Travel expenses,  Other expenses, Travel expenses of leaders and workers and  Miscellaneous expenses. Political parties submit these statements providing information of funds collected and spent from the date of announcement of elections to the date of completion of elections, which could be between three weeks to three months based on the notification issued by the Election Commission.

This report analyses the funds received by the political parties, during the election period of 79 days (14-10-2008 to 31-12-2008).  National Parties considered for the report were INC, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPM.  Total funds collected by the national parties during the assembly elections were Rs 182.12 crores, whereas the expenditure incurred by the national parties stood at Rs 135.52 crores.

 Regional Parties considered for the report were JKNC, JKNPP, RJD, AIFB, JD(S), JD(U), RLD, Shiv Sena, SP, CPI(ML)(L), JMM, RSP, ZNP, MPC and INLD.  Of the above 14 regional parties which contested in at least one assembly election of the six considered, only JKNC has submitted its election expenditure statement to the Election Commission. JKNC claimed no funds collected.  Total Expenditure incurred by JKNC - Rs 1.36 crores.

 93.43% of the total funds received by INC during election period was by cash (Rs 81.92 crores) while 85.60% of the total funds received by BJP was by cash (Rs 14.44 crores).  100% BSP?s funds of Rs 76.20 crores was collected in cash.  Unlike the funds collected, the parties? preferred mode of expenditure is by cheque/DD, according to the statements submitted. 58.29% of the total expenditure of INC was by cheque/DD (Rs 59.78 crores) while 98.74% of the total expenditure of BJP was by cheque or DD (Rs 25.17 crores) .

ADR recommended that a format similar to the donations report along with date of donations, submitted to the ECI on an annual basis, has to be prescribed for the expenditure statement so as to bring in more transparency in the finances of the political parties especially during elections when it is said that black money play a major role

All political parties must submit their statements of expenditure in the format given by the ECI including details of expenditure at the state, district and constituency levels.  Similar to the shadow observers of the ECI for monitoring expenditure of candidates, there must also be observers for monitoring the expenditure of political parties.

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