The Indian Republic
New Delhi

During the recent Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission (EC) seized Rs. 299 crores worth of cash across the country while 16 states reported seizures of more than Rs. 1 crore. In addition 1.61 crore litres of liquor, 1,707 crore mg of drugs and 57,335 illegal arms and ammunitions were seized countrywide. The total number of violations of the Model Code of Conduct were 8,04.433 while 4,26,077 notices were issued by the Election Commission of India across the country.

The plain deduction from these facts should be that money played in a big role in the elections, yet according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) the average election expense of the 537 Lok Sabha MPs, who have so far submitted their details to the EC, is just Rs 40.33 lakh, which is 58% of the expense limit. Moreover 176 MPs (33%) have declared election expenses of less than 50% of the expense limit in their constituency. A lone MP- Gourav Gogoi of the Indian National Congress (INC) from Kaliabor (Assam) declared an election expenditure of Rs. 82.40 lakh (118% of the expense limit).

Why should this happen given that politicians have always cribbed over the expenditure limit and demanded a raise. This year in fact the expenditure limits for Lok Sabha elections were raised from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 70 lakh for each constituency in bigger states (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka etc.) and from Rs 22 lakh to Rs. 54 lakh in smaller states like Goa. Yet almost all MPs declared election expenditure which is significantly lower than the expense limit.

The ADR analysis reveals that 108 MPs spent zero amount on public meetings, processions etc with Star campaigners, 24 MPs spent nothing on public meetings, processions etc. other than the ones with star campaigners, 108 MPs made zero expenditure on campaigning through electronic/print media, 100 MPs spent nothing on campaign workers, five did not even use any vehicle, while 72 gave a complete go by to campaign materials.

Yet for all the hesitation to spend money on the campaign trail, MPs did not shy from raising funds. On an average a MP from BJP raised 56% of his/her election expense funds from the party, an INC MP raised an average of 23% expenses from the party, for NCP MPs the average was 97%, while for CPI (M), Samajwadi Party (SP), Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) MPs the average fund raised from their parties was 71%, 63%, 37% and 32% respectively.

A sizeable chunk of the election funding also came from individuals/company/firm/ associations/body of persons etc. as loan, gift or donation.  It was not the BJP which got the largest chunk of it though with an MP raising an average of just 22% of campaign funds through this medium. Far bigger raises were made by INC- 47%, LJP- 66%, Shiv Sena- 58%, AIADMK- 55%, AITC- 54%, TRS-43% and Biju Janta Dal (BJD)- 37%.

Among the ministers- 35 of whom have declared their expenses to the EC, 11 (31%) have declared election expenses of less than 50% of the expense limit while the average expense has been Rs 38.96 lakh, which is 56% of the expense limit. The maximum expense of about Rs 67.31 lakh (96% of the expense limit) has been declared by Mansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava of BJP from Bharuch (Gujarat) followed by Uma Bharti of BJP (Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh) who spent Rs 59.64 lakh, D.V. Sadananda Gowda of BJP (Bangalore North, Karnataka) who spent 59.35 lakh. None of them exhausted the expense limit.

Ministers who spent the least were Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati of TDP (Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh) whose expenses stand at Rs. 4.10 lakh (6% of the expense limit). Kiren Rijiju of BJP (Arunachal West, Arunachal Pradesh) who has declared election expenditure of Rs. 13.70 lakh (25% of the limit), Raj Nath Singh of BJP (Lucknow, UP) with election expenses of Rs. 17.76 lakh (25% of the expense limit) and Dr. Jitendra Singh of BJP (Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir) with election expenses of Rs. 21.97 lakh (31% of the expense limit).  Overall the most frugal candidate was Shyama Charan Gupta of BJP from Allahabad (UP) who spent just Rs 39,369.

Among the states- Meghalaya, Kerala and Sikkim recorded the greatest average expenditure while Manipur, Mizoram and Lakshdweep were at the bottom.

As for the party wise spending, the average spend for 277 MPs from BJP is Rs 41.81 lakh (60% of the average expense limit), for 44 MPs from INC is Rs 41.63 lakh (60% of the average expense limit), for 37 MPs from AIADMK is Rs 35.66 lakh (51% of the average expense limit) and for 34 MPs from AITC is Rs. 46.51 lakh (67% of the average expense limit).

Among the biggies, Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) spent Rs 52 lakh and Rs 48 lakh from Mainpuri and Azamgarh respectively, while Narendra Modi spent approximately Rs 50 lakh in Vadodara (Gujarat) much more than the Rs 37 lakh he spent on Varanasi (UP), the seat he retained. Rahul Gandhi’s expenses at Rs 39.11lakh were more than his mother Sonia Gandhi’s total of Rs 30 lakh while the mother-son duo of Maneka Gandhi and Feroz Varun Gandhi spent Rs 38 lakh and Rs 56.55 lakh respectively. Among the star MPs, Vinod Khanna tops the lot with expenses of 63.95 lakh, a shade more than Hema Malini Deol who spent Rs 63.35 lakh.

- See more at:

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method