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Drawing the attention of people, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR} and Youth Collective Manipur (YCM) high lighted the Urgency to comprehend and understand the huge differences between the election expenditures submitted by candidates in their affidavits and the ground reality.

A report on analysis of the statements of MLAs regarding their expenditure in the recently held assembly election was released by ADR Manipur State coordinator Babloo Loitongbam and YCM coordinator Thongam Zingo at YCM Manipur office, Kwakeithel on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion, Babloo Loitongbam confided that after analysing the expenditure statement of the candidates available in the ECI website Lamsang AC MLA Sorokhaibam Rajen spent the highest amount while Hiyanglamg MLA Dr Yumnam Radheshyam spent the least in the assembly election.

S Rajen topped the expenditure chart at Rs 22,38,135 compared to Dr Radheshyam's figure of Rs 3,94,642 in the election, he said, adding that chief minister N Biren spent Rs 15,69,534 in the same election.

According to the report from ECI website, no candidate spent more than Rs 28 lakh, which was the ceiling set by ECI for the election.

However, chief minister N Biren during a recent public gathering stated that politicians and minister spent crores of rupees to win the election, Babloo noted.

Significantly, a detailed analysis of money spent by each candidate during the recently-concluded assembly elections as released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) reportedly mentioned that five MLAs of the Indian National Congress (INC) party spent Rs 15.81 lakh each, while the 32 Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs spent Rs 14.57 lakh each during the state elections.

It further maintained that Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh spent Rs 20.55 lakh, as per his expenditure statement submitted.

Meanwhile, YCM coordinator Thongam Zingo explained that according to Representation of People Act 1951, candidates who contested election should submit expenditure statement within 30 days from announcement of the election result and election petitions could be filed within 45 days.

There are several inconveniences in filing election petition after analysing the expenditure statement as there is inordinate delay in uploading expenditure report on the ECI website despite submission of expenditure statement, he claimed and assured YCM's unstinted support to ADR if the latter recommends extending time for filing election petition so as to address the procedural lapses and delays.

In sharp contrast to the popular perception of astronomical rise in election expenditure, the MLA's elections expenditure affidavits analysed by ADR shows a totally different picture, said Thongam Zingo.

He also noted that instances of ministers/politicians ruing over the crores of rupees spent during the election triggered controversies in the past.

However, their expenditure statements show that they have all spent less than the upper limit of Rs 28 lakh, Zingo pointed out.

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