Hyderabad: The travel expense of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and 19 other star campaigners of the TRS party was billed Rs 6.56 crore. Out of the total 9.53 crore that was spent on election expenditure in the recent general Lok sabha election, 6. 56 crore alone was spent on the travel expense which includes helicopter tours across parliament constituencies.

Most political parties during elections invite star campaigners to campaign for their parties or their party candidates. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which is the ruling party in Telangana submitted their expenditure report to the Election Commission (EC) of India.

According to the report the TRS spent Rs 1.71 lakh on media advertisement, Rs 47 lakh on publicity material, Rs 38,000 on publishing criminal antecedents of the candidates in Newspapers. With all the expenditure met, the TRS has Rs 269. 74 crore left as reserves.

During the general elections the pink party had roped in star campaigners including the TRS party chief and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, TRS working president K. T. Rama Rao , home minister Mahmood Ali, Indrakaran Reddy, E. Rajendar, E. Eshwara , E . Dayakar Rao, G. Jagadish Reddy, Ch Malla Reddy, V. Srinivas Goud, S. Niranjan Reddy, V. Prashanath Reddy , T. Srinivas Reddy. The expenses of these star campaigners include travel by road and air. However, the highest expense incurred by the part was for the helicopter tours of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao.

The Telugu Desam (TD) and the YSRC
According to official reports, though former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam (TD) lost the elections in Andhra Pradesh, it ended up spending more money when compared to Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRC. The TD spent Rs 131 crore for the elections. This amount is minus the unofficial expenditure. A large amount of the Rs 131 crore was invested in social media (bulk SMSes, website, YouTube) and advertisements’.

The norms of the ECI to publish criminal antecedents of candidates in newspapers burnt a hole in the pockets of all parties. The amount to publish criminal records cost the parties Rs 45 lakh. Present Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party, the YSRC, invested Rs 36 crore for its social media campaign, slightly lower given the fact that the party already had an election campaigner.

Election expenditure of TRS for the 17th Lok Sabha elections

1. Total travel expense of star campaigners: Rs 6.56 crore
2. Expense on media advertisement: Rs 1. 71 crore
3. Expenditure on publicity material: Rs 47,000
4. Total spending on general party propaganda: Rs 9. 53 crore

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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