New Delhi

Funds collected by major political parties in Maharashtra for the assembly elections continue to be higher, in terms of cash over cheque. On the contrary, the expenses were twice as much through cheque as compared to cash, as per analysis by theAssociation for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Maharashtra Election Watch. The study was based on declarations made by political parties in the 2009 assembly elections.

The report analysed funds received by Maharashtra's major political parties during the election period of 56 days (August 31, 2009 – October 25, 2009). While funds collected by national and regional parties stood at Rs81.07 crore, the expenses were Rs69.79 crore.

The parties covered were the Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena (SHS), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). All parties except the BJP, CPM and SHS had not submitted their district level expenses. Since MNS was an unrecognised party at the time, it did not give any declaration.

What's interesting is that the funds collected and spent by national parties was 10 times more than that by regional parties – While national parties collected and spent Rs73.56 crore and Rs63.53 crore respectively, regional parties gathered Rs7.48 crore and spent Rs6.26 crore.

Of the collections, 61.7% (Rs50.02 crore) was collected by cash, while 34.85% (Rs28.25 crore) was collected by cheque or demand draft. INC declared the maximum amount of Rs36.12 crore collected, and CPM declared the least amount at Rs0.13 crore. BSP was the only party that declared having collected no funds at all.

Explaining a way to increase transparency during donations, Sharad Kumar, state co-oordinater Maharashtra Election Watch-ADR, said, "We feel smaller amounts that do not need to disclose names of donors, should be included irrespective of the amount. That will go a long way in improving transparency."

Parties including INC, BJP, NCP, CPI and SHS declared expenditure under the head of publicity as Rs61.89 crores – over 90% of the total expenses. Among the expenditure incurred on publicity, INC spent the maximum amount of Rs14.6 crore on electronic media, followed by Rs6.44 crore on advertisements.

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