As many as 46 of the state’s 117 MLAs have declared that their poll spend was less than 50 per cent of the Rs 28-lakh limit fixed by the Election Commission (EC). The average election expenditure for all MLAs comes out to be Rs 15.34 lakh.

These findings figure in the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) report titled ‘Analysis of Election Expenditure Statements of MLAs, Punjab Assembly Elections, 2017’. The ADR is an NGO whose work focuses on electoral and political reforms.

Asked about the declarations, Trilochan Sastry, IIM Bengaluru professor and ADR founder-member, said, “The expenditure declared by all MLAs is just a fraction of the actual spend. This shows that black money is still in circulation, despite demonetisation. A lot of money is being used in the elections.”

The ADR researchers also wondered how the candidates, who were demanding before the elections that the expenditure cap be raised, managed to contest and win the elections within the limit.

Refusing to give an estimate of the actual expenditure by candidates, especially those contesting from high-profile seats, Sastry said, “A former Union Minister from Maharashtra once said on record that an Assembly election cost him about Rs 8 crore. So, you can make your own guess.”

He added: “We need in-depth tracking to assess the actual expenditure.”

Income from unknown sources

The ADR report calculated Rs 9,490 crore as the total income of all parties, including the Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party, from 2004-05 to 2014-15. The report highlighted that Rs 6,763.17 crore (71.27 per cent) of the income was from unknown sources; Rs 1,463 crore was generated from donations and Rs 1,263 crore from “other known sources”.

Richest candidate spent just Rs 8 lakh

  • Rana Gurjit Singh, who was the richest candidate in the fray with Rs 169.88-crore assets, has declared the lowest spend ( Rs 8.36 lakh) among ministers. Charanjit Channi is the highest spender ( Rs 26.83 lakh) among the ministers, followed by Manpreet Badal ( Rs 24.67 lakh)
  • NK Sharma, SAD MLA from Dera Bassi, is the only legislator to have declared that he didn’t spend a penny on vehicles during campaigning
  • The legislator who has declared the highest poll expenditure is Gurpreet Singh GP (Congress, Rs 26.89 lakh). At the other extreme is Harpartap Singh (Congress, Rs 4.13 lakh).
  • 45 MLAs claimed that they did not spend on public meetings etc. with star campaigners, while 69 said they didn’t take funds from their respective party
© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method