Highest spending (Rs 232.882 crore, a third of total) was on publicity, media advts taking a large chunk of it
GN Bureau | October 19, 2022
For the assembly elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand earlier this year, 13 political parties collected total funds of Rs 1,441.797 crore, while the expenditure incurred by them was Rs 470.101 crore, according to an analysis made by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), based on the expenditure statements filed by the parties with the Election Commission.
The central headquarters of the parties collected Rs 1,209.598 crore and spent Rs 284.92 crore. As for their state units, the expenditure figures were: Uttar Pradesh: Rs 73.238 crore, Punjab: Rs 33.95 crore, Uttarakhand: Rs 33.678 crore, Manipur: Rs 22.495 crore and Goa: Rs 21.82 crore.
Parties have to submit a statement of election expenditure to the Election Commission within 75 days of completion of assembly elections, which in this case was May 26. The statement contains information on the amount spent on the following heads at the central and state levels by the party: * Publicity * Travel expenses * Other expenses * Expenditure towards candidates * Expenditure incurred on publishing criminal antecedents of the candidate(s) and * Expenses on Virtual Campaign through Social Media platforms/Apps/other means by party
The ADR analysed the funds received and expenditure incurred by recognised political parties during the assembly elections that were completed on March 12.
The national political parties considered in this analysis are: BJP, INC, BSP, NCP, AITC and CPI. The Regional parties considered are CPI(ML)(L), AAP, RLD, SAD, Shivsena, AIMIM and NPF.
Eight national parties and 16 regional parties were considered for analysis. However, the expenditure statements of only 13 political parties are available on the Election Commission’s website. The statements of two national and nine regional parties are not available on the ECI website. These include CPM, NPEP, SP, AIFB, IUML, JDU, LJSP, Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), GFP, MGP and RSP.
To access the ADR reports, please go to: https://adrindia.org/content/analysis-funds-collected-and-expenditure-incurred-political-parties-during-goa-manipur
Highlights of the analysis:
Expenditure incurred by political parties under various heads
Parties that contested in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly elections spent the highest, Rs 232.882 crore, on publicity (33.93% of the overall expenditure), followed by Rs 205.144 crore on ‘lumpsum amount paid to candidates’, Rs 138.618 crore on travel expenses, Rs 56.751 crore on ‘other/miscellaneous expenses’ (8.27% of the overall expenditure), Rs 29.568 crore on expenses on virtual campaign through social media platforms/apps/other means by party and Rs 23.368 cr on Expenditure incurred on publishing criminal antecedents of the candidate(s).
Expenditure on Publicity by political parties
Parties are required to segregate their publicity expenses under three heads: Media Advertisement, Publicity Materials and Public Meetings.
During the five assembly elections, parties spent the maximum on Media Advertisement (Rs 182.6875 crore), followed by expenditure on Publicity Materials (Rs 39.7645 crore) and Public Meetings (Rs 10.43 crore).
Publicity expenditure from Central Headquarters is the highest, Rs 137.01 cr or 58.83% of the total expenditure on publicity, followed by Rs 28.749 cr or 12.34% from Punjab state units, Rs 21.414 cr or 9.20% from Uttarakhand state units, Rs 17.637 cr or 7.57% from Goa state units, Rs 17.386 cr or 7.47% from Uttar Pradesh state units and Rs 10.686 cr or 4.59% from Manipur State Units.
Expenditure on Travel by political parties
The ‘Travel’ head was segregated into travel expenses incurred specifically on star campaigners and that of the party leaders. Parties spent 98.72% of their total travel expenses or Rs 136.842 crore on their star campaigners and the remaining 1.28% or Rs 1.776 crore on travel of their party leaders.
Travel expenses from the central headquarters of the parties by itself were Rs 79.311 crore or 57.216%, which was higher than the total travel expenses incurred from state units. Total travel expenses from Uttar Pradesh state units were Rs 43.50 crore or 31.381% of the total expenses incurred.
Observations of ADR
The election expenditure statements of CPM, NPEP, SP, AIFB, IUML, JDU, LJSP, Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), GFP, MGP, RSP are not available in the public domain despite contesting elections, with a total delay of more than four months.
It must be noted that out of 13 political parties analysed in this report, only SAD declared donations through electoral bonds worth Rs 50 lakhs in their election expenditure statement for the Assembly elections 2022.
Recommendations of ADR
It must be made mandatory for all political parties to submit their statements of expenditure in the format given by the ECI, within the prescribed time limit. Political parties not submitting on time or in the prescribed format should be heavily penalized.
The details of all donors who contribute to national and regional parties exclusively for their election campaigns must be declared in the public domain irrespective of the amount donated.
A format similar to the donations report along with the 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 plays a major role.
Where possible, expenditure must be limited to transactions via cheque/DD/RTGS so as to reduce use of black money in elections, as per the transparency guidelines issued by the ECI.
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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