Guj Polls:BJP, Cong to flout EC's rule by spending crores?

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Ahmedabad, Nov 20: Only few weeks are remaining before Gujarat goes for much-awaited assembly polls in December. Political pundits fear that Gujarat Assembly Elections 2012 will see hundreds of crores to be spent by political parties, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress.

A political observer, on condition of anonymity says that Gujarat is a very important state for both Congress and BJP. "Both Congress and BJP are going to spend hundreds of crores to win elections." But, if political parties have to follow Election Commission of India's (ECI) mandate than such spending would be termed as illegal.

The ECI 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. Gujarat assembly polls will see voting in 182 segments.

However, statistics show that in last assembly elections in Gujarat in 2007, political parties had spent less amount, than suspected by political analysts. 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.

Congress is stated to have spent Rs 15.58 crore during the entire polls. 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.

Voting for Gujarat elections will take place on Dec 13 and 17 while counting will be held on Dec 20.

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