The government cleared a proposal of the Election Commission recently to raise the expenditure limits for Lok Sabha elections from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 70 lakh for each Lok Sabha constituency in bigger states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka etc, and from Rs 22 lakh in smaller states like Goa to Rs 54 lakh on par with other hilly and north eastern states. The Government also cleared the proposal to raise expenditure limits for assembly elections, with a maximum of Rs 28 lakh and a minimum of Rs 20 lakh in North Eastern and hill states. 

While this move was welcomed by the political parties, the following report which analyses the expenditure statements declared by the MPs in the Lok Sabha Elections, 2009, shows that on an average the MPs declared an election expenditure of Rs. 14.62 Lakhs i.e. about 59% of the average expense limit in 2009. 

Even in the recent five assembly elections, an analysis of the expenditure statements of the MLAs in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh shows that on an average, MLAs declare an expenditure that is far lower than the limit set, at 50% of the expense limit. In Delhi, MLAs declared an average expenditure of about 51% of the expense limit, in Chhattisgarh 53%, in Madhya Pradesh 48%, in Rajasthan 46% and in Mizoram 55%. 

According to Professor Trilochan Sastry (Founder, Association for Democratic Reforms), “Raising the ceiling does not address the real issues. First, we need a level playing ground so that any public minded citizen with a desire for public service should be able to contest elections and not be at a disadvantage. Raising the ceiling has no impact on that. Second, we need more transparency in the funding and source of funding, along with penalties for not being transparent. This is also not addressed.Third, we need penalties for crossing the new limit of Rs.70 lakhs. This is also not taken care of. Finally, everyone knows about the huge amount of black money in elections. Gopinath Munde said he spent more than Rs. 8 crores. We need to curb this blatant misuse of black money in elections. In summary, none of the major concerns are addressed by the Cabinet decision to raise the ceiling.”

National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analyzed the election expense statements submitted after the Lok Sabha Elections of 2009 for 437 MPs. The remaining expenditure statements of the rest of the MPs was not analysed due to the unavailability of the statements at the time of the making of this report. These election expense documents include details of expenses on public meeting and processions, campaigning through electronic and print media, expense on campaign workers, expense on vehicles used and expense on campaign materials. Detailed report in English is attached with the mail. 

Summary and Highlights of Election Expenses of MPs from the Lok Sabha2009 Elections

1. Less than 50% of the Limit: Candidates have constantly claimed that the election expenditure limit set is very low. However, based on the election expense declarations of 437 MPs analysed from Lok Sabha, 2009 to the ECI,129 MPs (30%) have declared election expenses of less than 50% of the expense limit in their constituency.

2. Average Election Expenses: Based on the election expense declarations of 437 MPs from Lok Sabha 2009 to the ECI, the average amount of money spent by them in the elections is only about Rs 14.62 Lakhs, which is59% of the expense limit. 

3. Election Expenses funded by Political Parties: 317 MPs (73%) declared that in the expenditure incurred by them, none of it was funded by the political party which fielded him/her. 120 MPs (27%) declared that a part of their election expenditure was funded by the political party and out of these, 15 MPs (3%) declared that all of their expenditure was funded by the political party which fielded him/her. 

4. Party-wise Election Expenses funded by Political Parties:  Among the MPs who were funded (partially or fully) by political parties, 35 MPs from BJP had declared an average funding from the political party of Rs. 5.08 Lakhs (36% of their average election expenditure). 30 MPs from INC have declared an average funding from the political party of Rs. 5.61 Lakhs (36% of their average election expenditure).​

5. Expenditure more than the Expense Limit: Two MPs declared election expenditure more than the prescribed expense limit. Premdas of SP from Etawah Constituency, Uttar Pradesh declared an election expenditure of Rs. 57.39 Lakhs (230% of the expense limit) and Akhilesh Yadav of SP from Kannauj Constituency, Uttar Pradesh, with expenses of Rs. 26.73 Lakhs (107% of the expense limit).

 ​6. State-wise Average Election Expenses:  The highest average election expenditure declared in a state isTripura (2 Lok Sabha Constituencies analysed) with an average election expenditure of Rs. 18.79 Lakhs (75% of the expense limit) followed by Jharkhand (7 Lok Sabha Constituencies analysed) with an average election expenditure of Rs. 18.73 Lakhs (75% of expense limit), Uttarakhand (5 Lok Sabha Constituencies analysed) with an average election expenditure of Rs. 18.49 Lakhs (74% of expense limit) and Assam (14 Lok Sabha Constituencies analysed) with an average election expenditure of Rs. 17.77 Lakhs (71% of expense limit).

7. Party-wise Average Election Expenses: The party wise average election expenses shows that the average spending for 161 MPs of INC is Rs 14.38 lakhs (59% of the average expense limit), for 91 MPs of BJP is Rs 14.43lakhs (59% of the average expense limit), for 21 MPs of SP is 19.48 Lakhs (78% of the average expense limit) and for 19 MPs of BSP is Rs. 14.72 Lakhs (59% of the average expense limit).

8. Top 3 MPs with highest Election Expenses: The maximum expense of about Rs 57.39 Lakhs (230% of the expense limit) has been declared by Premdas of SP from Etawah constituency, Uttar Pradesh followed by Akhilesh Yadav of SP from Kannauj constituency, Uttar Pradesh with an expense of Rs 26.73 lakhs (or 107% of the expense limit) and Yashbanta Narayan Singh Laguri of BJD from Keonjhar constituency, Orissa with an expense of Rs 24.97 Lakhs (or 100% of the expense limit)

9. MPs with lowest Election Expenses: The minimum expense of about Rs 1.31 Lakhs (or 5% of the expense limit) has been declared by C.M. Chang of NPF from Nagaland constituency. He is followed by Ravneet Singh of INC from Anandpur Sahib constituency, Punjab with election expenses of about Rs. 1.75 lakhs (or 7% of the expense limit) and  Muhammed Hamdulla Sayeed A.B.  of INC from Lakshwadeep constituency with expenses of Rs.2.02 lakhs (or 20% of the expense limit).

10. Expense on Public Meetings and Processions: Out of the 437 MPs analyzed, 33 (8%) MPs have declared that they have not spent ANY amount on public meetings, processions etc.

11. Expense on Campaigning through electronic/print media: 123 (28%) MPs have declared that they have not spent ANY amount on campaigning through electronic/print media.

12. Expense on Campaign Workers: 418 (96%) MPs have declared that they have not spent ANY amount on campaign workers.

13. Expense on Vehicles used: 22 (5%) MPs have declared that they have not spent ANY amount onVehicles Used.

14. Expense on Campaign Materials and Erection of gates, arches, banners etc.: 21 (5%) MPs have declared that they have not spent ANY amount on Campaign Materials and erection of gates, arches, banners etc.

Analysis of Election Expenditure Statement of MPs from Lok Sabha 2009 Election- Click here for (English / Hindi)

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