New Delhi: With the Election Commission of India (ECI) announcing today the poll dates for the 2020 assembly election in Bihar, a surge in campaigning by political parties would naturally be the next course of action.
This would also mean that poll-related funds will begin pouring in from various quarters into the accounts of political parties.
While all political parties are expected to make a detailed declaration to the ECI after the elections are conducted on the amount of funds they have collected for the polls, and the expenditure incurred, parties like Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) are yet to do so for the last Bihar elections.
A look at a recently published detailed report by the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR), an organisation working for electoral and political reforms, also throws up the fact that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) not only collected the most funds for the 2015 assembly elections in that state but also spent the most, particularly on publicity.
As per the report – put together after perusing the expenditure statements submitted by 15 parties to the ECI – a total amount of Rs 151.28 crore was collected by these entities. Most of the declared funds were received through cheques.
Interestingly, most of the funds were collected at the central offices of the political parties and not in their state unit offices. Of the Rs. 151.28 crore, Rs. 130.45 crore was received at the central offices of the parties.
BJP had collected Rs 51.66 crore, which was 34.15% of the total funds collected by political parties for those polls. Of the total amount, Rs.47.267 crore was received at the New Delhi office of the ruling party.
BSP was the party to have collected the most after the BJP – Rs 35.30 crore. INC had collected Rs 30.43 crore. While Janata Dal (United) collected Rs 5.229 crore, Rashtriya Janata Dal could gather only Rs 0.515 crore for those elections. As per Lok Janshakti Party’s expenditure declaration, it collected Rs 1.1. crore.
The expenditure incurred in the 2015 polls by parties was Rs 150.99 crore. Of this amount, the BJP incurred the highest – Rs 103.76 crore.
Publicity and Travel
Barring RJD, all political parties spent the most amount of money on publicity and travel. In total, the parties had spent Rs 74.97 crore on poll-related publicity. BJP incurred the maximum, at Rs 60.363 crore.
While JD(U) showed Rs 9.70 crore in expenses incurred for publicity, RJD is the only party that showed ‘zero’ expense under the category.
Spending on media and leaders’ travel
The BJP had also spent the highest amount of its declared funds on media advertisements. The ADR report shows the amount at Rs 40.083 crore. While RJD showed zero expenditure under this head, INC said it spent Rs 0.169 crore on it, and JD(U), Rs 0.05 crore.
Also, BJP, which had dispatched a record number of its national leaders to campaign in that state including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had spent Rs 25.737 crore on the travel expense of its leaders. This was the highest spent by any of the contenders. The next party to have done so was INC but its spending was far lesser than the BJP at Rs 0.515 crore.
Eventually, the party which had collected and spent the most funds in the 2015 elections won only 53 of the 157 seats it contested – falling to the fourth position in the results tally after RJD, JD(U) and INC.
While RJD and JD(U) came together to form the government in 2015 with support from the INC, this government would not last. BJP soon formed the government with the JD(U) after the latter left the alliance.