Source: 
Author: 
Date: 
20.02.2015
City: 
New Delhi
Like their promises and delivery, there is a yawning gulf between what politicos demand and what they do with their election expenses. While on one hand, they have been consistently demanding a need to increase election expenses, a study shows that over 40% elected representatives in Maharashtra have spent less than half the permissible expenditure limit.

Like their promises and delivery, there is a yawning gulf between what politicos demand and what they do with their election expenses. While on one hand, they have been consistently demanding a need to increase election expenses, a study shows that over 40% elected representatives in Maharashtra have spent less than half the permissibleexpenditure limit.

The study was conducted by Maharashtra Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms. The bodies conducted the study based on the election expenses submitted by 288 MLAs after the 2014 elections.
The findings revealed that 42% of them did not even cross the actual limit of expenses – set at Rs28 lakh. The election expense documents include details of expenditure on various elements – public meeting and processions, campaigning through electronic and print media, campaign workers, vehicles used and campaign materials.

Among the ministers, 45 % stated that their expenses were less than 50%. The average amount spent was seen to be only Rs15.18 lakh, which is 54 % of the set limit.

Out of the existing strength of 30 ministers, 22 were audited. It was seen that the most money was spent by BJP's Abrishrao Raje Satyavanrao – at Rs24.05 lakh, 86% of the expense limit. This was followed by Sudhir Mungantiwar of BJP at 82% and Eknath Sambhaji Shinde of Shiv Sena at 74%.

Ministers with least expenses were Dadaji Dagadu Bhuse of Shiv Sena at 31% of the expense limit, followed by BJP's Savara Vishnu Rama (32%), Rathod Sanjay Dulichand of Shiv Sena (39%) and chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis (41%).

As for funding, 12 ministers said that they had received funds from their respective party. Eleven of them informed that they were funded by individuals, companies and associations, via loan, gifts or donations. Only one minister – Dilip Kamble of Pune cantonment – declared that he had not used any of his own funds for campaigning.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) declared the maximum average expense for their 41 MLAs, which was 63 % (Rs17.17 lakh) of the expense limit. This was followed by BJP's 55% (Rs15.32 lakh) for their 122 MLAs, Congress' 54 % (Rs15.25 lakh) for 42 MLAs and Shiv Sena's 48 % (Rs13.42 lakh) for 63 MLAs.

Interestingly, the most expense and the least expense amount was not given bycandidates of any prominent party. In the declaration, the most was made by Bacchu Kadu, an independent candidate. He spent Rs26.19 lakh (94%) of the expense limit. The least was by advocate Waris Yusuf Pathan of All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) from Byculla constituency, who declared his election expenditure of Rs2.76 lakh.

The leaders seem to be less star struck this time around, for only 3% declared that they had spent any money on public rallies other than those that involved film stars and eminent personalities. As such, rallies were low on the ministers' list of priorities, as 27% of the MLAs surveyed stated that they had spent no money on campaigning, as was the case with the use of print and broadcasting media.

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