National and regional parties, during Assembly polls held in five states in 2017, collected Rs 1,503.21 crores and spent Rs 494.36 crores, an election watchdog reported on Thursday.

Releasing its report, the Association of Democratic Reforms said while 56 per cent of the expenses were towards publicity, parties spent more on travel of 'star campaigners' than party leaders.

The findings took into account seven national and 16 regional parties.

Total funds collected by the national parties during the five state Assembly Elections held in 2017 was Rs 1314.29 crore and expenditure incurred by the national parties was Rs 328.66 crore, the report said.

Regional outfits including All India Forward Bloc, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, National Peoples Party, Peoples Democratic Party, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Revolutionary Socialist Party have not submitted their election expenditure statements for any of the Assembly elections that they contested.

The Bharatiya Janata Party spent Rs 152.63 cr or 60.42 percent of its total expenditure on publicity. Indian National Congress spent the highest on lump sum amount paid to candidates (Rs 39.83 crore) which constituted 53.64 percent of its total expenditure.

Based on the details provided, the regional parties collected a total of Rs 188.92 crore and incurred an expenditure of Rs 165.7 crore, the report said.

Publicity According to ADR, national and regional parties incurred expenses on publicity, travel expenses, other/ miiscellaneous expenses and lumpsum amount paid to their contesting candidates.

National parties spent a total of Rs 189.46 crore on publicity. Regional Parties declared a total of Rs 110.77 crore under the same head.

Expenditure incurred by both national and regional parties on publicity formed 56 pc of the total expenditure while under three other heads, put together, forms 44 percent of the total expenses, said the report.

National parties spent Rs 79.23 crore on travel expenses while the regional parties incurred Rs 31.463 crore under the same head.

National parties declared giving Rs 75.12 crore to their candidates for election expenditure; the regional parties spent only Rs 22.62 crores on their candidates.

As per the report, the national parties spent the maximum on media advertisement (Rs 133.33 crores), followed by expenditure on publicity materials (Rs 28.13 cr) and public meeting (Rs 27.98 crores).

Regional parties, too, spent the maximum under the head of media advertisement (Rs 74.675 crores), followed by expenditure on publicity materials (Rs 35.2 crores) and public meeting (Rs 0.91 crores), ADR stated.

Regional parties spent Rs 7.07 cr more than national parties on publicity materials.

Travel National parties spent 94.55 pc of their total travel expenses or Rs 74.91 crores on their star campaigners and only 5.45 per cent or Rs 4.32 crores on travel of their party leaders.

Regional parties spent 93.77 percent of their total travel expenses of Rs 29.51 crores on their star campaigners and the remaining 6.23 per cent or Rs 1.96 crores on travel of their party leaders.

According to ADR, Indian National Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) are the three national parties whose state units have collected more funds than their central headquarters. The INC has received Rs 62.09 cr from its state units, followed by Rs 0.61 cr received by state units of NCP and Rs 0.465 cr by CPI(M).

National and regional parties, together, had left Rs 47.04 cr 'remaining unpaid' which formed 9.52 pc of the total expenditure of Rs 494.36 crore.

Trinamool Congress is the only national party that has incurred no expenditure either at the central or at the state unit level despite contesting in Manipur and Punjab Assembly elections.

Despite contesting in three Assembly elections (Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Shiv Sena declared that the party incurred no expenditure towards their election campaign in the states, ADR added.

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