The Congress party spent Rs 820 crore on its campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha election and the simultaneous Assembly polls held in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, according to a receipt submitted to the Election Commission of India.
The Congress raised Rs 856 crore for the Lok Sabha polls this year, Economic Times reported. According to the memo on the Election Commission website, the party spent Rs 626 crore on publicity and Rs 194 on its candidates.
A memo signed by the senior leader and party treasurer Ahmed Patel, says that the party spent a total of Rs 8,20,89,33,152 as the "gross total expenditure for general party propaganda and for candidates" for all the elections.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to submit its Lok Sabha election expense for this year but is likely to cross the amount spent by the Sonia Gandhi-led party.
Among other Opposition parties, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) spent the most on the Lok Sabha election (Rs 83.6 crore), followed by the Bahujan Samaj Party at Rs 55.4 crore, the Nationalist Congress Party at Rs 72.3 crore, and the CPM at Rs 73.1 lakh.
A report by The Times of India quoted the Congress' former social media head Divya Spandana as saying in May this year that the party didn't have the money.
"The party spent Rs 356 crore on media advertisements and digital campaigns through its central and state units. Congress candidates were given funds ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 60 lakh each. The then-party president Rahul Gandhi and incumbent president Sonia Gandhi took in Rs 50 lakh each for campaigning," the report by Economic Times said.
Reports also noted how the gap between funds used by the two major national parties, the BJP and Congress, has consistently widened since 2013.
For the 2014 General Election, the Congress had registered an expense of Rs 516 crore while the BJP had used Rs 714 crore for its campaign, reports said. In 2014, the saffron party had won the election after two consecutive terms of the Congress-led UPA government under Manmohan Singh.