Times of India
Times News Network

Going by Punjab politicians' word on their poll expenditure, not much money was spent during the 2007 elections by the three main parties.

Bewildering, but leaders of Congress, SAD and BJP, who contested last elections, in their affidavits to Election Commission, have claimed to have spent money within the expenditure limit, which was Rs 10 lakh.

Data released by watchdogs -- Punjab Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms -- on Wednesday revealed that the average claimed expenditure by winners and runners-up was a mere Rs 5.11 lakh.

The winners and runners-up, on an average, claimed to have utilized only 51% of the expenditure limit of Rs 10 lakh available to them.

There was also hardly any difference in the average claimed spending of all the parties.

The average claimed poll spend of Congress, SAD and BJP was Rs 5.07 lakh, Rs 5.27 lakh and Rs 4.97 lakh respectively.

Ranjit Singh of SAD from Raikot constituency was the only candidate, who is the highest spender among the total 232 statements of contestants the watchdogs analyzed, with a declared 90% utilization of expense limit, at Rs 9 lakh.

Ram Kumar of BJP from Abohar claimed to have spent the lowest amount of Rs 98,968 in the elections.

As per data, 45% candidates claimed to have spent less than 50% of the limit.

While Raikot was the highest expenditure constituency with average claimed expanses of Rs 8,73,948, Khadoor Sahib was the lowest average expenditure constituency at Rs 1,56,711.

Jalanadhar had the highest average expenditure of Rs 5,93,031 among districts and Tarn Taran had the lowest with Rs 3,47,836.

Jagdeep Chhokar, founder-member of ADR, said that the amounts claimed by politicians was too low and did not match the actual expenses.

"These figures are not indicative of the real expenditure," said Chhokar.

"Huge unaccounted money is spent during elections. This is basically black money used in polls and is a danger to the democracy," said Chhokar.

"On the one hand, politicians claim to spend so little during elections and on the other, they demand increase in expenditure limit," added Chhokar.

The expenditure limit for the coming elections in Punjab has been increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 16 lakh.


Statements analyzed by watchdogs : 232

Average expenditure claimed by winners and first runners up: Rs 5.11 lakh

51% candidates claimed to have utilized this much of poll expenditure limit of Rs 10 lakh

Congress average expenditure claim: Rs 5.07 lakh

SAD average expenditure claim: Rs 5.27 lakh

BJP average expenditure claim: Rs 4.97 lakh

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