Daily Pioneer

When the cost of every item, including election material, is soaring due to rising inflation, one will be shocked to know that now contesting the assembly election no more requires a hefty sum.

The recent assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh showed that none of the legislators in the Vidhan Sabha had crossed the election expenditure limit fixed by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Interestingly, the Congress, with just two legislators in the present Vidhan Sabha, had made the highest average expenditure while Bahujan Samaj Party, with one legislator, remained on the bottom. Two of the Samajwadi Party MLAs made just a little over Rs 1 lakh expenditure to win the polls.

The above sensational facts were brought to notice in a report made public by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) here on Monday. The report said that none of the newly-elected legislators in the UP assembly had breached the Rs 40 lakh limit of expenditure during elections.

Only three MLAs spent more than Rs 35 lakh. They are Jai Kumar Singh Jaiki of Apna Dal, Ramesh of NISHAD Party and Sushil Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

According to an analytical report released by the ADR, the election expenses report of 339 MLAs out of 403 MLAs were analysed. The report said that 222 (56 per cent) MLAs had declared election expenses less than 50 per cent of the limit in their constituency.

Based on the election expense declarations of 393 MLAs from Uttar Pradesh assembly, the average amount of money spent by them in the elections is Rs 18.88 lakh, which is 47 per cent of the expense limit.

The party-wise average election expenses show that the average spending for 247 MLAs from BJP was Rs 21.08 lakh (52.7 per cent of the expense limit).

For 109 MLAs from SP, the average election expenditure was Rs 14.88 lakh (37.2 per cent of the expense limit), while the average election expenditure for two MLAs from Indian National Congress was Rs 22.66 lakh (56.7 per cent of the expense limit) and one BSP MLA spent Rs 9.43 lakh (23.6 per cent of the expense limit).

Two MLAs who spent a little over Rs 1 lakh on their elections are Himanshu of SP and Tasleem Ahmad, also from SP. Nearly 387 MLAs have declared that they have spent funds on campaign vehicles and only six MLAs have declared that they have not spent funds on campaign vehicles.

The ADR report further says that 254 MLAs declared that they had spent funds on campaigning through electronic/print media and 139 MLAs declared that they did not spend any funds on campaigning through electronic/print media.

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