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Ch. Narendra
New Delhi

New Delhi: As many as 19% candidates who contested  in the recent Lok Sabha elections elections didn’t even file expenses. Average election expense of candidates of all parties is between 50-55% (or less) of the prescribed limit of 25 Lakhs. Interestingly, two MPs and several contestants including that of major parties have not filed expenses till now.

These findings were released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW), in their 2009 Election expensed analysis based on expenses filed by candidates.

ADR and NEW collected summary statements of election expenses from Election Commission, based on which the following analysis is done. Although NEW asked for election expense data for all the candidates that contested elections, the details were provided only for 463 constituencies.

For the remaining Constituencies the DEOs are apparently yet to send their reports to Election Commission. NEW has urged the election commission to expedite the availability of this data and as soon as the entire data is made available NEW will make it available to all.

NEW was able to get summary statement of expenses only for 6753 candidates out of 8028 candidates from 463 constituencies out of 543 constituencies. These summary expenses include the expenses made by the candidates as well as by the party on the candidate. This report is based on these expense declarations.

Out of these 6753 candidates, 1266 candidates have not filed their expenses, that is about 19% candidates have not even filed their expenses. The candidates who contested Lok Sabha 2009 elections and have not filed expenses also include candidates from all major parties.

64 candidates out of 421 from BSP, 13 candidates out of 361 of BJP and 7 out of 374 of INC have not filed their election expenses. Detailed party wise list for candidates who have not declared expenses is attached at the end. amongst winners, out of 463 constituencies two winners- i.e current MPs have not filed their election expenses till date as per the data provided by ECI.

These are Kabir Suman of AITC from Jadavpur, West Bengal and Choudhary Mohan Jatua of AITC from Mathurapur, West Bengal. Only 4 candidates have shown expenses more than the expense limit. These are Jaforulla Molla (Rs 49 lakhs) of AUDF from Murshidabad, West Bengal, Prakash Jha (Rs 45.27 lakhs) of LJP from Paschim Champaran Bihar, Raghuraj Singh Shakya (Rs 41 lakhs) of SP from Fatehpur Sikri and Ramji lal Suman (Rs 31 lakhs) from Agra of SP from UP.

Maximum expenses (Rs 49 lakhs) have been declared by Jaforulla Molla of AUDF from Murshidabad, West Bengal more than the expense limit of Rs 25 lakhs. Other than the four candidates whose election expenses were more than the maximum expense limit, only 30 candidates spent money during election between 90% of the expense limit, (i.e. 22.5 Lakhs) and the maximum limit (i.e. 25 Lakhs). The list of all these candidates is attached with report.

When analyzed party wise, most candidates of the major parties reached nowhere close to the maximum expense limit prescribed. The average election expenses of the candidates party wise show that average spending of BSP candidates was Rs 6.2 lakhs, for INC was Rs 13.7 lakhs, for BJP was Rs 12.5 lakhs and for SP was Rs 8.9 lakhs.

When analysed state wise, in none of the states the average spending reached even 50% of the expense limit. The highest it reached was 48% in Lakshadweep (average expense Rs 476, 787) and Manipur (average expense Rs 1,055,823) and 36% in Meghalaya (average expense Rs 790,013).

For those candidates who had declared assets less than 10 lakhs as per the affidavits submitted by them for Lok Sabha 2009 elections, average expense declarations were Rs 1.34 lakhs. For candidates with assets between 10 lakhs to 50 lakhs the average expenses were Rs 4.10 lakhs.

These expenses rose to Rs 9.37 lakhs for candidates with assets 50 lakhs to 5 crores. For candidates with assets above 5 crores the average election expenses were only Rs 11.8 lakhs. 2 candidates from Uttar Pradesh have declared zero expenses. Both are independent candidates, Sanjay from Salempur and Sunil Kumar from Unnao.

Average highest spending by a candidate in a constituency was in Kokrajhar constituency (Rs 16.17 lakhs) from Assam followed by Bellary (Rs 14.76 lakhs) from Karnataka and Tura (Rs 13.50 Lakhs) from Meghalaya. Lowest average spending was in Theni (Rs 29, 371) in Tamil Nadu followed by Chennai North (Rs 86, 727) from Tamil Nadu and Arrah (Rs 1 lakhs) from Bihar.

When analysed winner wise, the average expense filed by the candidates of various parties was well below the expense limit of Rs 25 lakhs. Among major parties, the average expenses per candidate for INC were 14.3 Lakhs, BJP – 15.04 Lakhs, AITC- 15.8 Lakhs, BSP 14.32 Lakhs, JD (U)  15.57, and SP 16.31 Lakhs.

There are 79 constituencies across the country from where election expense data has not been made available. The detailed list is given at the end. Commenting on the results of these analyses, Former CEC Mr J. M Lyngdoh of National Election Watch said, “Going by the average election expenses of the candidates during lok sabha elections it seems our politicians are very poor people. These expenses should be computed not by the government but by external competent authorities. We should change over to a better system otherwise it is meaningless to have count of such expenses. “

General (retd) Shankar Roychowdhury of National Election Watch said, “Given present trends of lavish political campaigning in most of the states it is extremely surprising and difficult to believe that most of the candidates haven’t even spent 50% of the prescribed election expense limit. I have doubts regarding the accuracy of the expense statements declared by candidates. In fact, it seems that the expenses declared by candidates are a farce and seem to be making mockery of the entire system”.

Former Super cop Julio Rebeiro of National Election Watch said, “While voters saw naked display of money power in the Lok Sabha elections, it is surprising that most candidates have shown that they did not even spend money up to the election expense limit of 25 Lakhs. Political parties also must be held
accountable for such candidates who by not declaring their expenses have made a mockery of Indian elections and democracy. In addition to a great need for lot more scrutiny of these expenses, this also points to an urgent need for making political parties accountable”.

Former DGP, I C Dwevedi of National Election Watch said, “Electioneering has been getting frightfully expensive and 'money-power' has now become a major factor. If a candidate were to honestly show the entire expenditure incurred it would amount to many times the permissible limit. That the average declared expenditure is less than 50% of the permissible limit amply demonstrates totally 'inadequate and ineffective' compliance with the rules.(EOM)

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