Latest records show that only one MLA in the newly-elected Gujarat assembly spent more on election expenses than the limit specified by the Election Commission, reports Vicky Nanjappa.
Non-government organisations National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms have analysed the election expenditure documents of all the 182 newly-elected MLAs in Gujarat and the 68 MLAs in Himachal Pradesh after the 2012 assembly elections.
The maximum limit specified by the Election Commission on the election expenses in each constituency in Gujarat was Rs 16 lakhs, while it was Rs 11 lakhs for Himachal Pradesh.
One MLA in Gujarat -- Patel Satishbhai Motibhai of the Bharatiya Janata Party from Karjan constituency -- has declared his expenses exceeding the specified limit of Rs 16 lakhs, as he spent about Rs 36.76 lakhs.
However, the average amount spent by the 182 MLAs in Gujarat was only about Rs 8.66 lakhs (or 54 per cent of the expense limit).
Whereas in Himachal Pradesh, average amount spent by the 68 newly-elected MLAs was only about Rs 6.77 lakhs (or 62 per cent of the expense limit).
As per the party-wise comparison of average election expenses, 115 BJP MLAs showed an average spending of Rs 8.46 lakhs (or 53 per cent of the expense limit) in Gujarat, whereas in Himachal Pradesh 26 BJP MLAs showed an average spending of Rs 6.82 lakhs (62 per cent of the expense limit).
Similarly, the average spending by the 61 Congress MLAs was Rs 8.98 lakhs (or 56 per cent of the expense limit) in Gujarat, whereas in Himachal Pradesh 36 Congress MLAs spent Rs 7.12 lakhs (or 65 per cent of the expense limit) on an average.
In Gujarat, a total of four MLAs (out of 182 MLAs analysed) have declared election expenses less than Rs 4 lakhs (that is less than 25 per cent of the expense limit set by EC), whereas in Himachal Pradesh a total of seven MLAs (out of 68 MLAs analysed) have declared election expenses less than Rs 4 lakhs (that is about 36% of the expense limit).
In Gujarat 2 MLAs (namely Vakil Manisha Rajivbhai of BJP from Vadodra City (SC) constituency and Rameshbhai Bhurabhai Katara of BJP from Fatehpura (ST) constituency) have declared that their election expenses have exceeded their total assets, whereas in Himachal Pradesh, 3 MLAs (namely Bikram Singh of BJP from Bhattiyat constituency, Yadvinder Goma of Congress from Jaisinghpur (SC) constituency and Hans Raj of BJP from Churah (SC) constituency) have similarly shown that they spent more money on election expenses than their total assets.