Vadodara battle: Mistry beats Modi in campaign expenditure

Madhusudan Mistry Madhusudan Mistry

Congress candidate from Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency, Madhusudan Mistry, has beaten BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi in poll expenditure. Mistry has so far spent on party flags, T-shirts, caps, hoardings, vehicles, public meetings and kiosk boards twice as much as Modi, his rival from the constituency. His expenditure is the highest among the eight candidates in the fray.

A look at the expenditure details offered by the two candidates to the election commission’s expenditure monitoring committee on their campaigning till April 15 offers an insight into the way the two parties are handling their campaigns.

Mistry counted his campaign expenses from April 4, the day he filed his nomination form. But for Modi, election expenditure is being counted from April 9. Till April 15, Mistry has spent Rs 10.1 lakh while Modi has spent Rs 5.35 lakh, though he has yet to detail expenses incurred on two public meetings. These expenses are incurred on the individual candidates and are separate from what their respective political parties spend on them.

Interestingly, with Modi also being the star campaigner of the party, rules of expenditure for him is different from other parties contesting from this Lok Sabha constituency.

“He has the freedom to appear on local radio and televisions to campaign for his party, without having to show expenditure for the same, in so far as he does not ask for vote for himself for Vadodara constituency,” district election officer Vinod Rao said. The Election Commission has a separate rule book for star campaigners as detailed in “Compendium of Instructions on Election Expenditure”.

Modi had to foot the bill of Rs 5,618 for an audio-visual advertisement that appeared on a local cable TV, even as his party has taken upon itself to spend on most of the hoardings that have been put up in this constituency. In order to save Modi’s money on kiosk boards, that were put up on around 1,000 poles, the party removed them on the day he filed his nomination form on April 9, putting up hoardings seeking vote for the BJP and not Modi. On the road show that was held on April 9, Modi spent Rs 3.35 lakh, which is separate from the expenses incurred by his party on his travels to Vadodara and by the state government on his Z-plus security.

Modi’s total expenses on the banner so far is Rs 3,288, as against Rs 44,255 spent by Mistry, who has put up one hoarding and 170 kiosk boards with his name and photo.

Other major expenses by the two parties are in the form of public meetings and expenditure on vehicles that are being used in rallies and in campaigning. Mistry’s dozen three-wheelers and tempos for daily campaigning that cost him around Rs 18,700 every day.