Nineteen political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, received over Rs 1,100 crore during assembly polls in five states and Union territories in 2021 and spent over Rs 500 crore, a big chunk of which went towards advertisements and travel expenses for star campaigners, a study said on Friday.
The BJP received the highest amount of Rs 611.692 crore and spent Rs 252 crore during the assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry. Of the total, the party spent Rs 85.26 crore on publicity, including media advertisement, and Rs 61.73 crore on travel expenses of star campaigners and other leaders, a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch said.
The Congress received the second-highest amount of Rs 193.77 crore and spent Rs 85.625 crore, including Rs 31.451 crore on publicity and Rs 20.40 towards travel expenses, it said.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which received the third-highest amount of Rs 134 crore, incurred a total expenditure of Rs 114.14 crore, with the party spending Rs 52.144 crore on publicity and Rs 2.414 crore towards travel expenses of its star campaigners and other leaders.
The report noted that the Communist Party of India-Marxist received a total fund of Rs 79.244 crore, Trinamool Congress Rs 56.328 crore, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Rs 14.46 crore and the Communist Party of India Rs 8.05 crore during the elections.
While the CPI-M incurred an expenditure of Rs 32.74 crore, spending Rs 21.509 crore towards publicity and Rs 1.173 crore on travel expenses, the TMC spent Rs 154.282 crore, incurring an expenditure of Rs 27.009 crore on publicity and Rs 33.02 crore towards travel expenses, according to the report.
The AIADMK's total expenditure during the elections stood at Rs 57.33 crore, and of that, Rs 56.756 crore went towards publicity.
The CPI spent Rs 5.68 crore in elections, incurring an expenditure of Rs 3.506 crore on publicity, according to the report.
The ADR-National Election Watch analysed funds received and expenditure incurred by a total of 19 political during the assembly polls in the five states and Union territories in 2021.
The BJP, the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, TMC, CPI-M, CPI, DMK, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, the Communist Party of India-Marxist–Leninist-Liberation, the All India Forward Bloc, the Asom Gana Parishad, the AIADMK, the All India United Democratic Front, Paattali Makkal Katchi, the Janata Dal-Secular, the Kerala Congress-Mani, the Samajwadi Party and the India NR Congress are the parties whose funds and expenditures were analysed.
"Total funds collected by 19 political parties during Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry Assembly Elections held in 2021 was Rs 1,116.81 crore and total expenditure incurred was Rs 514.30 crore," the non-government election watchdog said in its report.
Political parties that contested the elections in these five states spent the highest amount of Rs 282.08 crore on publicity, followed by Rs 235.66 crore on lumpsum amount paid to candidates, Rs 119.57 crore on travel expenses, Rs 64.336 crore on other miscellaneous expenses and Rs 19.162 on publishing criminal antecedents of the candidate, it said.
"Their expenditure on publicity is 39.13 per cent of the overall expenditure declared under various heads," the report said.
The political parties together spent the maximum on media advertisement (Rs 201.05 crore), followed by expenditure on publicity materials (Rs 63.722 crore) and public meetings (Rs 17.308 crore) it noted.