New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Political parties that contested Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana Assembly elections in 2018, spent the highest Rs 185.65 cr on publicity, election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said on Thursday.

“National and regional parties collected Rs 826.76 crore and spent Rs 337.84 crore during the five state Assembly elections held in 2018,” it said.

The political parties that contested in the five states declared their expenditure under the heads of publicity, travel expenses, other/ miscellaneous expenses and lumpsum amount paid to their contesting candidates.

“The parties spent the highest, Rs 185.65 crore on publicity, followed by Rs 147.56 crore on lumpsum amount paid to candidates, Rs 108.08 crore on travel expenses and Rs 37.75 crore on other/ miscellaneous expenses.”

The ADR said the political parties are required to submit a statement of election expenditure to the Election Commission within 75 days of completion of Assembly polls.

“Accordingly, the last date of submission was February 25.”

The expenditure statement contains details of the total amount received as funds in the form of cash, cheque and demand draft and the total amount spent under various heads.

For the report, the ADR analysed six national parties and seven regional parties.

“The national and regional political parties considered in this report are: BJP, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, All India Forward Bloc, Rashtriya Lok Dal, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Mizo National Front (MNF).”

As many as 10 regional parties have not submitted their election expenditure statements yet to the Election Commission.

The ADR suggested that it must be made mandatory for all political parties to submit their statements of expenditure in the format given by the EC, within the prescribed time limit. Political parties not submitting on time or in the prescribed format should be heavily penalised.

“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,” suggested the ADR.

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