Of the Rs 23.5 crore the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spent on the assembly elections in 2012, over Rs 20 crore was spent on publicity alone. While the Congress state unit spent much less and got some support from the national unit too, the BJP’s Punjab unit made a clean profit, if one goes by accounts statements submitted to the Election Commission (EC).
Their poll fortunes notwithstanding — the SAD-BJP historic consecutive victory, and the Congress’ stunning loss — the bank balances of both sides swell during polls. As per information on the EC website, the ruling SAD showed a leap of Rs 20 crore in its bank balance after announcement of polls through donations. Its opening balance showed Rs 2 crore as loans and advances.
The SAD spent total Rs 23.5 crore on the 94 assembly seats it contested, including funding its candidates. Of this, its spending on advertisements alone was a whopping Rs 20 crore – Rs 10.47 crore on advertisements in the print media and Rs 9.98 crore in electronic media. It showed Rs 75 lakh as expense on banners and hoardings and Rs 1.41 crore on air travel alone.
Though the Punjab Congress, too, got donations of Rs 19.4 crore — the party’s balance sheet when elections were declared on December 24, 2011, showed Rs 15.67 crore — it paled in comparison to the ruling party in its poll spending on publicity. Of the total expenditure of Rs 20.02 crore by the Congress, the highest was Rs 11.7 crore on funding its candidates — i.e. Rs 10 lakh each on the 117 candidates. It spent Rs 6.26 crore on ads in print media and Rs 1.01 crore on “video films”. It spent just Rs 50 lakh on advertisements in the electronic media, as per details provided to the EC. The bank balance shrunk to Rs 95 lakh after the elections in March 2012 that it lost.
And, while both the SAD’s and state Congress’ expenses exceeded their income during polls, the Punjab unit of the SAD’s coalition partner BJP made a clean profit. Punjab BJP received Rs 2.49 crore through donations but spent only Rs 1.93 crore on the 23 assembly seats it contested. It paid Rs 5.17 lakh for advertisements in print media, Rs 76.33 lakh on public meetings and Rs 15.64 lakh on boarding and lodging for its leaders, leaving it richer by Rs 55.85 lakh from the donations.