The complete election expenditure statements of the Nationalist Congress Party, Janata Dal (Secular), Revolutionary Socialist Party, and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha are not available in the public domain, with a total delay of more than four years and eight months, a report by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms finds.
Election expenditure statements of NCP for both Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir Assembly elections, of RSP and JMM for Jharkhand Assembly election, and of JDS for Jammu & Kashmir Assembly elections are unavailable on the website of the ECI, it says.
Political parties are required to submit a statement of election expenditure to the Election Commission of India (ECI) within 75 days of completion of Assembly Elections.
This delay, according to the report, is in violation of a 1996 Supreme Court judgment directing the Election Commission to create a format for the recognised parties to submit their statements.
The Report’s Other Findings
The report also finds that four national parties, All India Trinamool Congress, Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Communist Party of India, delayed the submission of their election expenditure statements for Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir Assembly Elections by 107 days, 113 days, 130 days and 186 days respectively, even as the BJP formed the government in both Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir at the end of the assembly elections in 2014.
Total funds collected by 18 political parties during both the Assembly elections were Rs 159.46 crore and the total expenditure incurred was Rs 91.42 crore.
Funds collected by the parties at their central headquarters was Rs 128.46 crore and expenditure was Rs 77.85 crore, the report says. Jharkhand state units spent Rs 12.46 crore while the J&K state units spent Rs 1.11 crore.
Parties that contested the 2014 Jharkhand and J&K Assembly Elections spent the highest, Rs 43.18 crore on publicity.
It was followed by Rs 35.12 crore on lumpsum amount paid to candidates, Rs 33.75 crore on travel expenses and Rs 9.92 crore on miscellaneous expenses.
A political party’s expenditure statement contains details of the total amount received as funds in the form of cash, cheques and demand drafts and the total amount spent under the following heads: publicity, travel expenses, other expenses and expenditure towards candidates.
Parties submit these statements providing information of funds collected and spent between announcement and completion of elections.
The report recommends that timely submission must be made mandatory for all political parties and a heavy penalty should be imposed on defaulters. The details of all donors who contribute exclusively for election campaigns must be declared in the public domain, it adds.
(With inputs from the Association for Democratic Reforms.)