The state branch of ECI had sought the ECI’s opinion on the matter.
Mumbai: The expenditure of MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s public rallies will be added to the party’s annual expenditure, said an official of the state branch of the Election Commission of India (ECI).
The state branch of ECI had sought the ECI’s opinion on the matter. The official said that the commission asked to add the expenditure of the rallies to the MNS’ annual expenditure.
A fortnight ago, the BJP had demanded that as the MNS wasn’t contesting the Lok Sabha elections, the expenditure on Mr Thackeray’s rallies sho-uld be added to the expenditure of the Congress and NCP candidates. In this connection, the BJP had also written a letter to Ashwani Kumar, the state’s chief electoral officer, seeking to know which Lok Sabha candidate would incur the cost of Mr Thackeray's political rallies.
Dilip Shinde, additional chief election officer, told The Asian Age, “As we have received the directions of the ECI in connection with the expenditure on Mr Thackeray's public rallies. The ECI has directed that the expenditure of the public rallies be shown as the party’s expenditure and the statement of expenditure submitted to the ECI.”
Mr Thackeray conducted close to a dozen public rallies in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections although his party did not field a single candidate. Mr Thackeray targeted the BJP’s star campaigner and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah. He appealed to voters not to cast their votes in favour of BJP and its alliance partners in order to ensure that Mr Modi suffered defeat.
In its letter dated April 13, the BJP said, “It can be clearly seen that the rallies are being held for Congress-NCP candidates. However, no candidate is showing the expenses incurred on Mr Thackeray’s rallies in their own name. According to the rules of the commission over poll expenditure, it is not clear where is the spending over political rallies coming from.”