LS POLLS: Splurge of money by political parties and candidates; BJP led the way; Congress did it in 2009

NEW DELHI: The recent Lok Sabha polls saw an estimated total expenditure of Rs60,000crore. It could be much more in actual terms. Of this, the BJP spent Rs 27,000crore, as per an estimate by the Centre for Media Studies. It noted that the polls were the most-expensive in India so far, and the money spent was much more than what was spent in the last US presidential polls.
At this rate, the next Lok Sabha polls in 2024 could see the related expenses crossing Rs 1 trillion, the CMS chaiman N Bhaskar Rao said and pointed out that the “Mother of all corruption lies in spiralling election expenditure.”
As per the study, there was a noticeable reversal of scenario vis-a-vis the previous polls. The BJP spent some 20 per cent of the total poll expenses in 1998. In 2019, it rose to 45 per cent. The Congress spent about 40 per cent of the total poll expenditure in 2009 and won a second term for the UPA. This has reduced to 15 to 20 per cent, it said.
As per CMS field studies and analysis, this time, overall, Rs 700 was spent per voter. This meant nearly Rs 100crore in each parliamentary constituency. Around Rs 12,000crore to Rs 15,000crore was distributed directly to voters, while Rs 20,000crore to Rs 25,000 crore was spent on publicity. Logistics, like mobilization of vehicles, loud-speakers etc accounted for about Rs 5,000 crore. The formal expenditure was between Rs 10,000crore and Rs 12,000 crore, while miscellaneous expenses were about Rs 3,000crore to Rs 6,000 crore, the CMS report noted. IHN-NN

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