New Delhi

In the five state elections held in 2016, political parties spent Rs 573.24 crore on travel, publicity and lump sum payments to candidates, an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said. The parties had, however, collected Rs 355 crore for poll expenses.

Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry went to the polls in 2016.

The BJP topped all national and regional parties in collecting (Rs 131.72 crore) and spending (Rs 112.14 crore) money. ADR, a non-profit election watchdog, analysed poll expense data provided by political parties to the Election Commission (EC).

National parties collected Rs 287.89 crore and spent Rs 188.12 crore, while regional parties received Rs 67.22 crore and incurred an expenditure of Rs 213.97 crore, the ADR's report said.

The BJP spent the highest amount of Rs 90.41 crore — 39.18% of its total expenditure — on lump sum payments to candidates. This was followed by Rs 87.28 crore the party spent on publicity.

The Congress spent Rs 52.7 crore on payments to candidates, which was 54.82% of its total expenditure. The BSP was the only national party which declared that it did not spend any amount on candidates.

The Shiv Sena did not declare any expenditure at all even as it contested elections in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Among regional parties, Samajwadi Party raised the highest amount of Rs 35.66 crore even though its fight in these state elections was limited.

The DMK and the AIADMK raised only Rs 9.7 crore and Rs 4 crore, respectively, but their eventual expenditure was Rs 97.34 crore and Rs 64.72 crore, respectively.

Parties received most funds through cheques (197.32 crore or 55.57% of the total amount collected), followed by cash, while only the CPM collected funds in kind.

National parties spent the maximum on media advertisements (Rs 82.08 crore), while regional parties declared spending more than the national parties in the same category (Rs 95.49 crore).

The report said that national parties declared spending Rs 30.68 crore and Rs 24.7 crore on publicity materials and public meetings, respectively, while regional parties spent Rs 13.64 crore and Rs 10.2 crore under the respective heads.

ADR recommended in its report that "details of all donors who contribute to national and regional parties exclusively for their election campaigns must be declared in the public domain irrespective of the amount donated."

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