Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde has written to the Election Commission claiming that his speech at a book release function was quoted out-of-context to send the impression that he claimed to have spent Rs 8-crore as his election expense.
This was in response to a notice served on him to explain suppression of his actual poll expense before the Commission. The amount he quoted in the meet was far higher than the permissible limit of Rs 40 lakh.
“In the year 2009, my party and the candidates from all the constituencies in Maharashtra had collectively incurred an expense of more than Rs 18-crore during the election campaign.
My exclamation that Rs 8-crore was spent in the last year’s election has to be read and heard as a figure of speech – a rhetoric and nothing more,” Munde’s reply says.
“This was with reference to the expenses incurred by my party in Maharashtra in all the parliamentary constituencies during election.”
He said he meant to deride the influence of black money in elections: “I was referring to the escalation of election costs since 1980 and the exorbitant expenses incurred or likely to be incurred in future, during election campaigns in general,” Munde said.
“During my speech, I propounded some reforms, such as the election expenses of the recognized political parties should be borne by the State.”
Munde’s statement had been made at the release function of a book written by BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe. “I spent Rs 29,000 when I contested my first Assembly poll in 1980. But had to spend Rs 8 crore for my last election.”