Money matters in polls, but not always. Aam Aadmi Party ( AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann, who won the Sangrur seat in the recent Lok Sabha elections, is an example.
His poll spending was the lowest among the 13 winners in Punjab, but he had won the seat by the biggest margin of 2.11 lakh votes in the state. To top it all, he spent only RS 1,000 from his pocket, with bulk of his money coming from the party and donors.
As per the final expenditure details submitted by the candidates to the Election Commission of India (ECI), Mann, who spent Rs 17.43 lakh on his election, got Rs 11.74 lakh from the party fund and another Rs 8.30 lakh from donors. He was left with unspent balance of Rs 2.60 lakh in his election account.
In contrast, actor-turnedpolitician and BJP leader Vinod Khanna spent a whopping Rs 63.95 lakh on his election from Gurdaspur. Khanna, who defeated Punjab Congress president Partap Bajwa, had to spend Rs 35.16 lakh from his pocket as he got only Rs 4.63 lakh from his party and another Rs 24 lakh through donations during the elections, according to expenditure details submitted by the candidates last month.
Congress candidate from Anandpur Sahib Ambika Soni spent ? 54.80 lakh on her election campaign, for which she got Rs 50 lakh from the party fund.
Besides spending Rs 11.93 lakh on public rallies, Rs 11.75 lakh on campaign vehicles and Rs 7.24 lakh on advertisements, the former union minister incurred an expenditure of Rs 2.34 lakh on beverages. The poll expenditure limit per candidate was Rs 70 lakh.
Her party colleague Preneet Kaur was the next among big spenders, incurring an expenditure of ? 52.45 lakh on her election campaign in Patiala constituency.
Like Ambika Soni, she did not get much financial support from the Congress party, but she got ? 40 lakh as “gift” during the election campaign. While no star campaigner visited her constituency, she spent Rs 30.76 lakh on public rallies.
Badal bahu Harsimrat Kaur Badal, SAD MP from Bathinda, spent Rs 52.28 lakh on her poll campaign. She received Rs 32.70 lakh from a long list of donors and Rs 5 lakh from the party. Her father-in-law, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, and husband, deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, were the two star campaigners who frequented her constituency. She spent Rs 6.98 lakh to organise 13 rallies of the two Badals in Bathinda.
Congress candidates Ravneet Bittu, Partap Bajwa and former finance minister Manpreet Badal also spent roughly Rs 50 lakh each on poll campaigns. While Manpreet made no mention of any financial support from the Congress, Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Bathinda alone cost Rs 14.43 lakh.