The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spent over Rs 344.27 crore in the Assembly elections held this year in five states—UP, Punjab, Goa, Manipur, and Uttarakhand—which was nearly 58 per cent higher than the Rs 218.26 crore that the ruling party at the Centre reported in poll expenses in these states over five years ago, revealed an analysis of election expenditure reports that were submitted to the Election Commission.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the analysis shows that the Congress logged a sharp increase in poll expenditure in the aforementioned five states. The grand-old-party spent Rs 194.80 crore this year, which is over 80 per cent higher than the Rs 108.14 crore spent in 2017.
The BJP spent the maximum amount of Rs 221.32 crore in Uttar Pradesh, where the saffron party returned to power with a reduced majority. The data also shows that the poll expenditure in Yogi Adityanath-led state was over 26 per cent higher than its 2017 amount of Rs 175.10 crore. Punjab and Goa also witnessed the sharpest rise in the poll expenditure.
This year, the Narendra Modi-led party spent Rs 36.70 crore in Punjab, over five-fold rise of its 2017 poll expenditure of Rs 7.43 crore. The party managed to win only two seats, one less than its count in 2017.
While in Goa, the BJP spent Rs 19.07 crore, over four-fold rise in its poll expenditure of Rs 4.37 crore in 2017. In Manipur and Uttarakhand, the party spend Rs 23.50 crore (Rs 7.86 crore in 2017), and Rs 43.67 crore (RS 23.48 crore in the year 2017). The saffron party managed to return to power in Goa, Manipur, and Uttarakhand.
Additionally, the BJP reported gross receipts of Rs 914 crore by its Central office in 63 days from the date of announcement of assembly elections in five states on January 8 till the completion of polls on March 12. The Congress, however, logged gross receipts of Rs 240.10 crore.
It is pertinent to mention here that the contesting political parties in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are required to maintain an account of all funds collected in any kind from the date of announcement of polls till the date of completion of polls. The report has to be sumitted their election expenditure records within 75 days of Assembly polls and 90 days of Lok Sabha polls.