New Delhi

NEW DELHI: The poll expenses declared by political parties and their Members of Parliament show discrepancies, indicating that either of them is not giving correct figures, an analysis by a voluntary group suggests. 
The Association for Democratic Reforms which works towards electoral reforms, today claimed after analysis of declarations submitted by political parties and their candidates, that the declaration by 33 per cent MPs on lump sum amount received, does not match with their parties' declarations regarding the amount allocated to the candidate for election expenditure. 

"Out of 342 MPs from national parties, a total of Rs 75.58 crores was declared by 263 MPs as received from their parties whereas the national parties have declared that Rs 54.73 crores was given to only 175 MPs," the group said here today. 

It said BJP declared having given a total of Rs 1.22 crore to 17 MPs, each receiving a sum less than or equal to Rs 10 lakhs and Rs 47.03 crore to 142 MPs, each receiving a sum of more than Rs 10 lakhs for their election expenditure. 
However, out of 282 MPs of the party, 229 have declared receiving aid of Rs 65.88 crore from the BJP which is about 18 crore more than declared by the party, it said. 
"Out of 159 MPs to whom BJP had declared to have given some lump sum amount, only 105 MPs had declared the same amount while 35 declared an amount larger than what the party had said it had given," the group said in a statement. 
The group said Congress declared before the Commission as having given a total of Rs 2.7 crore to seven MPs, each receiving amounts above Rs 10 lakhs while NCP declared having given a total of Rs 2.5 crore to five MPs, each receiving a sum greater than Rs 10 lakhs. 
The group said as there is discrepancy in the data provided by the candidate and his/her political party, it should be made mandatory to cross check data provided by all the candidates and the political parties. 

"The Election Commission could scrutinise the expenditure statements within six months of declaration of election results, and erring parties and their candidates should be penalised. This should also be treated as wrong filing of affidavits by the candidates, if proven," it said. 

The group said the transparency guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India, which came into force on 1st October, 2014, specifically states that those parties providing any lump sum amounts to their candidates should do so "...through crossed account payee cheque or draft or through bank account transfer and not in cash". 

"Once these guidelines are strictly followed, scrutiny of the amounts given by parties and that received by the candidates can be conducted," it said.
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