Candidates of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), who contested three of the four Lok Sabha seats in Pune constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, spent the most during the campaign, reveals information obtained from Election Commission of India’s (ECI’s) records. That year, the maximum amount a candidate could spend on the campaign trail was increased from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 70 lakh.
The expenses include money spent on posters, banners for publicity, vehicles, print and electronic advertisements and public meetings, among others, and each candidate has to maintain a record of his/her spending. It is mandatory for all the candidates to open a bank account for the expenses and they have to make all the payments through cheque. The candidates have to submit details of the expenditure to the election office.
As per the records of the Election Commission of India (ECI), the maximum amount on campaigning was spent by NCP candidate Devdutt Nikam from Shirur constituency, who spent Rs 65.31 lakh, followed by NCP candidate from Baramati Supriya Sule, who spent Rs 64.29 lakh, while Nikam’s political rival in Shirur, Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil of Shiv Sena, spent Rs 62.42 lakh on his campaign. Patil defeated Nikam to win for the third consecutive time from Shirur.
In Baramati, Sule’s political opponents spent considerably less than her — Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Suresh Khopade spent Rs 33.55 lakh while Mahadeo Jankar of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), who contested with support from the Shiv Sena-BJP combine, spent Rs 22 lakh. While Sule managed to win from Baramati for a second consecutive time, she did so by a lower vote margin as Jankar gave her a tough fight.
In Pune seat, the total expenditure of all the 28 candidates in the fray was Rs 2.24 crore. Congress candidate Vishwajeet Kadam had spent Rs 49.43 lakh while BJP candidate Anil Shirole spent Rs 36.54 lakh, former bureaucrat Arun Bhatia spent Rs 36.13 lakh, MNS candidate Dipak Paigude spent Rs 29.66 lakh and Subhash Ware, who had contested as the AAP candidate, spent Rs 29.36 lakh. Shirole had won from Pune, a seat traditionally won by the Congress, with a record margin, with Kadam in the second position.
The Maval parliamentary seat, which falls in both Pune and Raigad districts, saw candidates cover a large distance to woo the voters. NCP candidate Rahul Narwekar spent Rs 53.25 lakh while Laxman Jagtap, who contested as the Peasants Workers Party (PWP) candidate, incurred an expenditure of Rs 50.30 lakh, and Shiv Sena candidate Shrirang Barne spent Rs 42.79 lakh. Barne had managed to retain the seat for the Shiv Sena.