The government on Friday demanded that the Election Commission should take cognizance of BJP leader Gopinath Munde's comments that he had spent around Rs 8 crore in the last Lok Sabha elections against the prescribed limit of Rs 25 lakh.
"If Munde has gone over the Rs 25 lakh limit, it is for him to explain to the Election Commission, and the Commission to take cognizance of it. If Munde has said he has spent Rs 7 to 8 crores, it would be proper the EC asks him. It is in the nation's interest, and the responsibility of the EC," Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said.
Munde had yesterday claimed in Mumbai that a whopping Rs eight crore were spent during his 2009 Lok Sabha election campaign. Munde, an MP from Beed and BJP's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, was speaking at a function to launch the book 'Beyond a Billion Ballots' penned by Vinay Sahastrabuddhe.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari also were present at the function. In his speech, talking about his long electioneering career and bemoaning the increasing cost of contesting elections, Munde said, "I spent Rs 29,000 when I contested my first Assembly poll in 1980.
Rs 8 crore were spent for my last (2009 Lok Sabha) election." To questions on whether political parties should be covered under the RTI Act, Tewari said, "The intent of RTI Act was not to cover political parties and it has been explicitly stated in the Act."