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India’s bitterly fought poll becomes the world’s most expensive: Report

About $6.5 billion was spent ‘during the US presidential and congressional races in 2016, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks money in American politics.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2019 16:55 IST
Bibhudatta Pradhan and Shivani Kumaresan
Bibhudatta Pradhan and Shivani Kumaresan
Bloomberg
The report, based on field studies, analysis and estimation, found that they spent 700 rupees per voter or nearly one billion rupees in each parliamentary constituency.(Reuters FILE)

Elections in the world’s biggest democracy have become the most expensive too.

Spending by political parties and candidates to woo 900 million voters in the just concluded polls cost them nearly 600 billion rupees ($8.7 billion), more than double of 2014 polls, according to the New Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies. The report, based on field studies, analysis and estimation, found that they spent 700 rupees per voter or nearly one billion rupees in each parliamentary constituency.

With some constituencies comprising as many as three million voters, equivalent to the population of Jamaica, candidates had to spend more for publicity and logistics and in some cases distributed cash for votes, according to the report. India’s poll panel prescribes a seven million-rupee ceiling on spending by a candidate.

Also read: Why India’s election is among the world’s most expensive

About $6.5 billion was spent ‘during the US presidential and congressional races in 2016, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks money in American politics.

At this rate, expenditure in the next 2024 general election could cross one trillion rupees, said N. Bhaskara Rao, chairman of CMS.

“Mother of all corruption lies in the spiraling election expenditure,’’ said Rao. “If we are not able to address this, we can’t check corruption in India.’’

First Published: Jun 04, 2019 13:12 IST