Deccan Chronicle

Majority of the MLAs in the new House say they spent far below the Election Commission limit of Rs 16 lakh for their Assembly poll campaign, baffling independent observers who have sought a probe into their claims.

The Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, declared he spent only Rs 11 lakh in Puthupally and not be outsmarted, the opposition leader, Mr V.S. Achuthanandan, also pegged his expenses at Rs 11 lakh.

If the declarations submitted to the EC by the 139 newly elected MLAs are to be believed, the average poll expense was only Rs 9 lakh.

Only four MLAs admitted that they have spent more than 80 percent of the amount, over Rs 13 lakh.

The maximum expense of Rs 15.24 lakh has been declared by Mr P.K. Basheer of the Indian Union Muslim League from Eranad constituency, followed by the industry minister, Mr P.K. Kunhalikutty, in Vengara (Rs 14 lakh).

A total of 39 MLAs said their expenses were less than Rs 8 lakh. Lowest in the chart was Rs 2.49 lakh by Mr K. Kunhiraman of CPI(M) from Uduma constituency. Mr Thomas Chandy, the richest among the MLAs by declared assets, spent only Rs 10 lakh.

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