In 2013 Delhi went to polls. Arvind Kejriwal was elected the Chief Minister, though the government lasted only for 49 days. But there are few facts which have come to public notice now after the political parties have submitted the details of fund collected and expenditure incurred during the election period to the Election Commission of India.
According to a report released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an electoral and political reforms organisation, a total fund of Rs 2272.91 Lakh (Rs 22.7 Crores) was collected by all the political parties contesting the Delhi elections in 2013. Out of this, the new player Aam Aadmi Party had collected Rs 20.75 Crores. On the other hand BJP, as declared, had collected only Rs 27.7 Lakhs!
According to the report, total expenditure incurred by all the political parties was Rs 1501.71 Lakhs (Rs 15 Crores). Out of this, AAP had spent Rs 9.05 Crores, where as BJP spent Rs 3.15 Crores!
Here is the twist: BJP had collected Rs 22.7 Crores, but was able to spend Rs 3.15 Crores.
As per the report, AAP alone collected 91% of the entire funds during the Delhi elections 2013. BJP collected only 1.22% of the total fund. Juxtaposing this, AAP spent 60% of all the expenditure incurred by all the political parties. BJP spent 20.99%.
It was Congress which was in power before the elections. It collected Rs 80.06 lakhs, and spent Rs 1.72 Crores. BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) collected Rs 61.03 Lakhs, and spent Rs 49.11 lakhs. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has declared that it raised zero rupees, and spent Rs 57.97 lakhs!
It is worth knowing that political parties do not need to declare the source of income of money amounting to less than Rs 20,000.
The present scenario can be justified by the political parties given the complexities of funding, various rules, et cetera. But somebody who has witnessed the elections in Delhi, knows that something is missing from what the political giants have declared. BJP had advertised everywhere in Delhi. As per the report, BJP has declared that it spent only Rs 84.41 lakhs in media advertising! AAP has declared that it spent Rs 4.84 Crores.
It is certainly surprising that despite less advertising and spending so less money BJP was able to emerge as the single largest party in the assembly elections 2013.
It goes without saying that we need more transparency from our political parties. These declarations fail to make to the breaking news of the TV news channels and first page of the newspapers. They fail to make it to national debates. But these are the core issues where we need our politicians to respond.
Let us wait for more such declarations from our political parties for the recent elections- and see for ourselves if they share the truth.
This article was first published in LokMarg on April 25, 2015.