New Delhi, Dec 17 (PTI) The total funds collected by five political parties during this year's Delhi Assembly polls was nearly Rs 50 crore, while the expenditure incurred was Rs 34.32 crore, including over Rs 22 crore on media advertisements, according to a report by election rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
In a statement issued on Thursday, the ADR said the political parties spent the maximum amount (Rs 22.702 crore) on media advertisements, followed by expenditure on publicity materials (Rs 8.058 crore) and public meetings (Rs 28 lakh).
The poll rights group said the parties spent 51.91 per cent of their total travel expenses or Rs 68,000 on their star campaigners and Rs 63,000 on other leaders.
'The complete election expenditure statements of BJP, NCP, CPI, JDU, RJD, RLD, SHS and AIFB are not available in the public domain despite contesting elections, with a total delay of more than 230 days,' the ADR said.
The five political parties -- CPM, BSP, AAP, LJP and Congress -- delayed the submission of their election expenditure statements for the Delhi polls by 79 days, 138 days, 138 days, 145 days and 162 days respectively, it added.
'LJP declared no expenditure incurred despite contesting the elections. Despite incurring zero expenditure, the election expenditure statement of the party was available after a delay of 145 days,' it said.
The ADR recommended that it must be made mandatory for all political parties to submit their statements of expenditure in the format given by the Election Commission of India (ECI) within the prescribed time limit and the parties not submitting the same on time or in the prescribed format should be heavily penalised.
'The details of all donors who contribute to national and regional parties exclusively for their election campaigns must be declared in the public domain irrespective of the amount donated,' it said.
'Where possible, expenditure must be limited to transactions via cheque/DD/RTGS so as to reduce the use of black money in elections, as per the transparency guidelines issued by the ECI,' the ADR said.
Similar to the shadow observers of the ECI for monitoring the expenditure of candidates, there must also be observers for monitoring the expenditure of political parties, it suggested.
In the polls held in February, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 62 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged the remaining eight. The Congress drew a blank for the second consecutive time. PTI UZM RC