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Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, November 20, 2012
If you thought that it costs hundred of crores to contest one assembly polls having 182 segments, you are way off the figure because in the 2007 assembly polls in Gujarat, BJP's total expenditure was just Rs. 10.6 crore while Congress appeared little more liberal to spend Rs. 15.58 crore during the entire polls.

This may be hard to believe but these figures have been submitted by the two parties before the Election Commission of India (ECI).

On Narendra Modi's constituency Maninagar in Ahmedabad, the ruling party spent as little as Rs. 5.9 lakh!

The election Commission has prescribed individual candidate's spending limit at Rs. 16 lakh for each constituency but there are no rules on the spending by any political party.

As per the details submitted before the EC, Gujarat BJP claims to have received Rs. 16.55 in donations out of which it spent Rs. 10.6 crore. The party's expenses details further reveal that it had spent Rs. 7.36 crore in campaigning, publicity material, pamphlets, hoardings, banners and advertisements in media while Rs. 2.3 crores were spent on air travel of its star campaigners through aircraft or chopper.

It may be noted that the party had hired two aircraft and three choppers for movements of its star campaigners like chief minister Narendra Modi, the then state BJP president Purushottam Rupala and many national leaders.

The party's spending for food, accommodation and cab for its national leaders stood at just Rs. 7.23 lakhs only.

For the Congress party, it received Rs. 15.72 crore in donations out of which it's spending for the entire polls stood at Rs. 15.58 crore. The opposition party spent only Rs. 53 lakh in hiring aircraft and choppers for its campaigners.

"It is absolutely ridiculous to believe that both party spent merely Rs. 26 crore during 2007 assembly polls. The figures submitted by the parties are an eyewash," an official with the ECI said, adding the commission has no power to cross check the details of expenditure submitted by the parties and secondly, these parties get deflated invoices from various vendors and service providers in order to hide the actual costs.