The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) topped the list of expenditure by political parties on campaigning in the October-November Bihar assembly elections with ₹71.72 crore, followed by the Congress ( ₹30 crore) and Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), ( ₹22.67 crore), according to the reports filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI).
The report of Rashtriya Janata Dal ( RJD), which contested the polls in alliance with the Congress and emerged as the single largest party with 75 seats in the 243-member House, is unavailable on the website. But the party said it spent ₹7.93 on electioneering.
The Bahujan Samaj Party, which won only one seat, has shown an expenditure of ₹4.79 crore.
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The BJP won 74 seats and formed the government with JD (U) (43 seats) and other smaller parties. It spent around ₹25.5 crore on the travel of its star and campaigners during the polls including on helicopters.
The BJP’s expenditure was around ₹30 crore less than in the 2015 elections while the Congress, JD (U), and RJD spent more on the 2020 polls. The BJP spent over ₹100 crore, the Congress ₹18 crore, and RJD ₹94 lakh in the 2015 assembly polls. The JD (U), which contested the last elections as part of the RJD-led alliance, spent ₹13.97 crore in 2015.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, which won five seats in the 2020 elections, has shown an expenditure of ₹3.14 lakh and Communist Party of India (Marxist) ₹15 lakh.
BJP leader Devesh Kumar said the BJP and JD (U) have declared all their poll expenditure in a transparent manner and added the information furnished by other parties such as RJD appears less convincing.
“ …parties including opposition RJD have shown its figures low. People have seen how campaigning was done. I think the ECI should probe the election expenses furnished…”
RJD treasurer Sunil Kumar Singh, who said they have sent their report to the EC within the stipulated time, said the ECI should indeed cross-check the details of election expenditure furnished by all parties, especially those in power. “ RJD has been in opposition for a long [time] and gets small contributions. Whatever expenses were incurred by the RJD have been shared. …some parties having deep pockets have understated their election expenses. It should be looked into,” he said.