New Delhi

Political parties had spent over Rs 136 crores to woo people in six states during the 2008 elections, National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms compiling data from the Election Commission of India (ECI) today said.

The parties include INC, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI(M) and 15 regional outfits like the JKNC, JKNPP, RJD, AIFB, JD(S), JD(U), RLD, Shiv Sena, SP, CPI(ML)(L), JMM, RSP, ZNP, MPC, INLD.

While the BJP has declared that it did not spend any money on publicity or travel or other expenses during the 6 Assembly Elections, the Indian National Congress (INC) has declared that the maximum amount of Rs 102.56 crores was incurred in MP, Delhi, Chhatigarh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

The NCP is the only national party that did not submit its expenditure statement to the ECI, while the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference is the only regional party to have filed its expenditure of statement to the ECI.

Total expenditure of national and regional parties during 2008 elections was Rs 136.88 crores, NEW and ADR quoting the political parties' statement to ECI said.

The parties are required to submit a statement of election expenditure to the ECI within 75 days of completion of assembly elections.

The expenditure statement contained details of the total amount received as funds in the form of cash, cheques and demand drafts and the total amount spent under various heads.

The expenditure statement contained information on the amount spent on various heads at the state, district and constituency levels by the party under following heads: 1) Publicity, 2) Travel 3) Other, 4) Travel of leaders and workers, and 5) Miscellaneous expenses.

Political parties submit these statements providing information of funds collected and spent from the date of announcement of elections to the date of completion of elections, which could be between 3 weeks and 3 months based on the notification issued by the Election Commission.

Total funds collected by the national parties during the assembly elections were Rs 182.12 crores and the total expenditure incurred by them were Rs 135.52 crores, NEW and ADR's release said today.

Of the 14 regional parties which contested in at least one assembly election of the 6 considered, only JKNC has submitted its election expenditure statement to the ECI.

The JKNC said it had not collected any fund of the total expenditure of Rs 1.36 crore it incurred.

About 93.43 per cent of the total funds received by INC during election period was by cash (Rs 81.92 crores) while 85.60 per cent of the total funds received by BJP was by cash (Rs 14.44 crores).

About 100 per cent BSP's funds of Rs 76.20 crores was collected in cash.

The ADR believed that a format similar to the donations report along with date of donations, submitted to the ECI on an annual basis, has to be prescribed for the expenditure statement so as to bring in more transparency in the finances of the political parties, especially during elections when it is said that black money plays a major role.

All political parties must submit their statements of expenditure in the format given by the ECI, including details of expenditure at the state, district and constituency levels.

Similar to the shadow observers of the ECI for monitoring expenditure of candidates, there must also be observers for monitoring the expenditure of political parties, the statement added. UNI PC PL NNNN

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