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Highest expense of Rs.15.2 lakh by
K. Kunhiraman with Rs.2.4 lakh has the lowest expenditure
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The average election expenditure of the newly elected members of the Kerala Assembly comes to about Rs.9 lakh, which is only 59 per cent of the expense limit set by the Election Commission of India, says a review of the election expenditure by MLAs done by the Election Watch Kerala.
According to the Election Watch Kerala, the average election expense declared by 19 Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MLAs is Rs.10,54,247, for 38 Congress MLAs it is Rs.10,04,103, for 45 CPI(M) MLAs the average is Rs.8,12,140 and for 13 CPI MLAs it is Rs.8,91,560. Only four MLAs have declared expenditure in excess of 80 per cent of the permitted amount — over Rs.13 lakh.
As many as 39 MLAs have declared election expenses below Rs.8 lakh — less than 50 per cent of the expense limit set by the Election Commission. The highest expense of Rs.15,24,665 has been declared by P.K. Basheer, IUML candidate in the Eranad constituency, followed by his party colleague P.K. Kunhalikutty, who had contested in Vengara (about Rs.14 lakh), and B. Sathyan of the CPI(M) from Attingal (about Rs.13 lakh).
The candidate who has declared the lowest expenditure figure is K. Kunhiraman of the CPI(M), who was in the fray in Udma in Kasaragod district, with a poll expenditure of Rs.2,49,667. He is followed by Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes P.K. Jayalakshmi of the Congress with an expenditure of about Rs.4 lakh and K.K. Jayachandran of the CPI(M) from Udumbanchola with expenses of Rs.4.5 lakh.
As many as eight MLAs have declared that they spent less than Rs.10,000 on public meetings and processions and 54 MLAs have declared that they have not spent any money on campaigning through the electronic or print media. However, 19 MLAs have declared that they spent less than Rs.10,000 on such campaigns.
While 39 MLAs have declared that they did not spent any amount on campaign workers, 13 MLAs have admitted to have spent less than Rs.10,000 on the same and four MLAs have declared that they have used less than Rs.50,000 on vehicles.
The National Election Watch says the Election Commission should specifically investigate the election expenses of candidates who have not declared or have declared very low expenses on use of vehicles, campaign material, public meetings, campaign workers, and print/electronic media to check the veracity of such declarations.
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