New Delhi

Nearly 33 per cent of 537 MPs could not spend even half of the maximum limit of their poll expenditure in their constituency, a report of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)said. Based on the poll expense declarations of the 537 MPs in this year's Lok Sabha elections, the ADR report found 176 MPs declared election expenses of less than 50 per cent of the expense limit in their constituency. The average poll expense is only about Rs.40.33 lakh - 58 per cent of the expense limit.

The report found that the poll spending of two main parties-the BJP and the Congress- nearly in the same range. The partywise average poll expenses shows that the average spending for 277 MPs from BJP is Rs.41.81 lakh (60 per cent of the average expense limit); for 44 MPs from Congress is Rs.41.63 lakh (60 per cent of the average expense limit); for 37 MPs from AIADMK is Rs.35.66 lakh (51 per cent of the average expense limit) and for 34 MPs from AITC is Rs.46.51 lakh (67 per cent of the average expense limit).

This year, the expenditure limit for the Lok Sabha elections were raised from Rs.40 lakh to Rs.70 lakh for each Parliamentary constituency in big states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. For small states like Goa, the same was enhanced from Rs.22 lakh to Rs.54 lakh.

Interestingly, the revision of the election expenditure limits came after sustained efforts by candidates contesting elections. But on analysing the expenditure statements submitted by the MPs to the Election Commission it was noticed that the MPs continue to declare election expenditure significantly lower than the expense limit.

Surprisingly, there is only one MP who declared election expenditure more than the prescribed expense limit. Gourav Gogoi of Congress from the Kaliabor constituency, Assam declared an election expenditure of Rs.82.40 lakh (118 per cent of the expense limit).

An interesting fact that has come out in the report is 108 MPs have declared they have not spent any amount on public meetings, processions with star campaigners. Similarly, 108 MPs declared they did not spend on campaigning in electronic/print media and 100 others claimed no amount was spent on campaign workers.

Seventy-two MPs declared they have not spent any amount on campaign materials, the report said.

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