THE BJP spent over Rs 344.27 crore in the Assembly elections held in five states — UP, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand — this year, which was nearly 58 per cent higher than the Rs 218.26 crore that the party logged in poll expenses in these states five years ago, shows an analysis of election expenditure reports submitted to the Election Commission.
The analysis shows that the Congress also recorded a sharp increase in its poll expenditure in these five states, spending Rs 194.80 crore in 2022 – over 80 per cent higher than the Rs 108.14 crore it spent in 2017.
Of the BJP’s tally in the five states, the maximum amount — Rs 221.32 crore — was spent in UP, where the party returned to power with a reduced majority, the data shows. Its poll expenditure in UP during the 2022 elections was over 26 per cent higher than its 2017 figure of Rs 175.10 crore.
The sharpest rise, however, was recorded in Punjab and Goa.
In 2022, the BJP spent Rs 36.70 crore in Punjab, nearly five-fold its expenditure of Rs 7.43 crore in the 2017 Assembly elections. Yet, the party managed to win only two seats, one less than its count in 2017.
In Goa, the party spent Rs 19.07 crore in the elections this year, over four-fold its expenditure of Rs 4.37 crore in 2017.
The party’s poll expenditure on the 2022 Assembly elections in Manipur and Uttarakhand stood at Rs 23.52 crore (Rs 7.86 crore in 2017) and Rs 43.67 crore (Rs 23.48 crore in 2017).
The BJP returned to power in Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand.
Of the party’s total poll expenditure across the five states, a major chunk was spent on travel of its leaders, and for holding public meetings, processions and publicity. The party also spent about Rs 12 crore on virtual campaigns in the five states assembly elections.
The BJP has also reported gross receipts of over Rs 914 crore by its Central office and its state units in UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa in 63 days from the date of announcement of assembly elections in these states on January 8 till completion of polls on March 12, 2022. During this period, the Congress party has reported gross receipts of Rs 240.10 crore.
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The state-wise breakup of the Congress party’s poll expenditure is not available. The Congress has reported an expenditure of Rs 15.67 crore on “virtual campaign through social media platforms/Apps and other means.”
Political parties contesting in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are required to maintain an account of all the funds collected in cash, cheque or draft or in kind from the date of announcement of polls till the date of completion of polls. They are also required to submit their election expenditure statements to the EC within 75 days of Assembly polls and 90 days of Lok Sabha polls.