The manner in which the MLAs have spent during the recent assembly elections is something that needs to be looked into. Take for instance Tamil Nadu where the figures just do not match up.
The cash seized by ECI’s expenditure observers reached record levels in the last elections, with more than Rs 60 crores seized just from Tamil Nadu. However the analysis show that 76 MLAs declared that they did not spend any money on public meetings, processions etc. This despite each party and candidate claiming huge crowds in their rallies during elections.In Assam 126 MLAs together claim to have spent Rs 9.01 Lakhs, Kerala – Rs 9.39 Lakhs (139 MLAs), West Bengal – Rs 7.06 Lakhs (217 MLAs) and Tamil Nadu – Rs 7.12 Lakhs (234 MLAs), Puducherry – Rs 3.12 Lakhs (39 MLAs).This means that MLAs are claiming that the money spent by them in the recent elections on an average was way below the expense limit. It is 56% for Assam, 50% for Kerala, 39% for Puducherry, 44% for West Bengal and only 45% for Tamil Nadu.
In just one raid, Rs 5.11 crore were seized from a private bus in Tiruchirappalli. In another raid in Madurai, Rs 3.5 Crores were seized, however the highest expenses reported by any MLAs is mere Rs 15.99 lakhs. The top three declarations across the 5 assemblies are from Abu Taher Bepari of INC from Golakganj, Assam(Rs 15.99 lakhs), Smiti Monika Bora of INC from Gohpur, Assam (Rs 15.91 lakhs) and K.T. Pachaimal of AIADMK from Kanniyakumari, TN(Rs 15.73 lakhs).
The lowest expenses declared are by A Soundararajan of CPI(M) from Perambur, TN (Rs 75.6 thousand) followed by Namita Saha of AITC from Magrahat Purba, WB(1.14 Lakhs) and Kashinath Mishra of AITC from Bankura, WB(Rs 1.35 Lakhs). This is in spite of reports of large number of reports of distrubtion of freebies from across the states.
While there was huge discussion on paid news, most MLAs (376 of them) have declared that they did not spend ANY money on campaign through electronic/print media.
183 MLAs declared that they have not spent any money on campaign workers.
While most vehicles were found to be rented during elections and candidates travel in large cavalcades, 8 MLAs have declared that they did not spend any money on vehicles.
10 MLAs have declared that they did not spend any money on any type of campaign materials.
The election expenses of all MLAs for the recent 5 assembly elections have now been analysed by the Association for Democratic Reforms in association with the National Election Watch. The candidates were to declare all of them within 30 days of election(by 13 June). It took ECI another week to put the scanned copies of them on the web (Jun 20).
There are still 2 days for people to critically analyse these expenses and challenge election of a MLA on under-reporting/hiding expenses.
Although the money power was blatantly at display during the recent elections, the new MLAs to these assemblies (TN, WB, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry) have shown the average amount of total money spent in their election to be only between Rs 3.12 lakhs and Rs 9.39 lakhs (39% and 59% of the limit) in their declarations to the Election Commission of India. Top three spenders from each state: Assam:Abu Tehar Bepari of the Congress spent Rs 15.99 lakh Monika Bora, Congress- Rs 15. 91 lakh Dr Nazrul Islam, Congress- Rs 15. 12 lakh
Basheer, Muslim League- Rs 15.24 lakh
Kunjalikutty, Muslim League-Rs 13.99 lakh
B Sathyan, CPI(M)- Rs 13. 80 lakh
Smita Bakshi, All India Trinamool Congress- Rs 15.66 lakh
Hamidul Rehman, Independent- Rs 15.21 lakh
Amal Acharjee, AITC- Rs 14.16 lakh
Pachaimal, AIADMK- Rs 15.73 lakh
Dr Krishnasamy, Puthiya Thamilagam- Rs 15.35 lakhAnita Radhakrishnan, DMK- Rs 15. 04 lakh
E Valsaraj, Congress, Rs 5.30 lakhG Nehru, All India N R Congress- Rs 5.12 lakh M Chandrakasu, All India N R Congress- Rs 4.49 lakh
A Soundarajan of CPI(M) from Perambur Constituency in Tamil Nadu- Rs 75000
Namita Saha of the AITC, from the Magrahat Purba constituency in West Bengal- Rs 1.14 lakh
Kashinath Mishra of the AITC from the Bankura constituency in West Bengal- Rs 1.34 lakh
The zero spenders:
Bhupen Ray (AGP- Assam), P R N Thirumurugan (Congress, Puducherry), A R Ranganathan (AIADMK-Tamil Nadu) and 73 others have declared that they have not spent a single penny for public meetings, processions etc. There are 376 MLAs from all five states who have stated that they have not spent anything on campaign through electronic/print media. 183 MLAs have stated that they have borne zero expenditure on campaign Workers during the elections. Eight MLAs have declared that they have not spent any money on the use of vehicles during campaigns while 10 have stated that they have not used any money for campaign material.