The 182 MLAs, who were elected to the state assembly recently, incurred election expenditure of an average of Rs16.45 lakh, an analysis of the election expense documents submitted by the MLAs shows.

For the Gujarat elections, the Election Commission had fixed Rs28 lakh as the expenditure limit. The average expenditure of Rs16.45 lakh by the 182 MLAs was 59% of the maximum limit.

The analysis of the poll expense documents by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch shows that 54 of them declared expenses of less than 50% of the expense limit.The 99 BJP MLAs spent an average of Rs17.34 lakh, while the average expenditure declared by the 77 Congress MLAs was Rs15.99 lakh. The two MLAs of Bhartiya Tribal Party declared election expenditure of Rs12 lakh, while the three independent MLAs spent an average of Rs5.37 lakh. The lone NCP MLA, Kandhal Jadeja from Kutiyana seat, spent Rs5.74 lakh.

The analysis shows that two MLAs exceeded the expenditure limit set by the Election Commission.

Rajendrasinh Chavda, BJP MLA from Himmatnagar seat, spent over Rs33.78 lakh on his election campaign. Another BJP MLA, Kubersinh Dindor from Santrampur (ST) seat, declared election expenses of Rs28.95 lakh, the analysis reveals.

However, a senior election official told DNA that election expenses submitted by the MLAs are still being scrutinised.

“The scrutiny of documents is going on. The analysis is based on the abstract expenditure statement of the MLAs, and the expenses figures could change after the scrutiny,” said an official.

The official said that though it is highly rare, an MLA can be disqualified for exceeding the expenditure limit by the Election Commission.

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According to the analysis, two independent candidates are among the three MLAs who declared the least expenditure on their election campaign. Ratansinh Rathod of Lunawada spent a little over Rs3 lakh, which was the lowest among all 182 MLAs, while Vadgam (SC) MLA Jignesh Mevani, who contested as an independent but with Congress’s support, spent Rs5.20 lakh.

Bharatji Thakor, Congress MLA from Becharaji seat, declared election expenditure of Rs3.81 lakh, the second lowest among all candidates.

The analysis shows that 51% of the total expenditure by the MLAs was on holding public meetings or taking out processions. The next biggest expenditure was on campaign workers (14%), followed by vehicles (12%), campaign material (10%), and campaign through media (5%).

19 MLAs did not use own money

Out of the 182 MLAs, as many as 19 MLAs declared that they did not use any of their own funds for their election campaign. The analysis shows that of the total funds received by MLAs, 67% funds were raised from political parties, 22% by the MLAs themselves, and 11% raised from other sources.

CM spent Rs 19.32 lakh

The analysis shows that the 20 ministers spent an average of Rs17.57 lakh on their election campaigns.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani spent Rs19.32 lakh on his election campaign, and deputy CM Nitin Patel Rs16.37 lakh.

Education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama (Rs23.43 lakh), Vasan Ahir (Rs23.05 lakh) and Raman Patkar (Rs22.96 lakh) spent the highest sum among the ministers.

Ishwarsinh Patel (Rs12.44 lakh), Pradipsinh Jadeja (Rs14.16 lakh) and Bachu Khabad (Rs14.64 lakh) spent the lowest among the ministers.

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