At the current rate with which it’s increasing, it would only be a matter of time before India overshoots the US in its election spending record. Slated to spend over $5 billion for the election campaigns alone next month, India become the nation with the second highest election spending record after the most expensive presidential campaign ever in the US that cost around $7 billion. Several indicate that this splurge could very well give the Indian economy a much needed boost.
A report published by the Center for Media Studies indicates that over the past few months, the various political campaigns in India have cost the nation a whopping INR 30,000 crores. This is nearly triple the amount spent during the last elections campaigns held in 2009.
Much of this splurge has been attributed to the election campaigns spearheaded by BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi. The report indicated that Modi started his campaigning much before other candidates and is leaving no part of the nation untouched, even traveling to places where the BJP has little or no influence.
Many forecast that this splurge on election campaigning would provide a positive boost to the Indian economy which is slated to hit a record low of 5% growth by the end of this financial year. However, some estimate this spike to beonly a temporary phase.
Indian election campaigns offer monetary benefits to a wide range of businesses, including advertisements, media and several other companies that fund these rallies directly. The nation’s advertising agency is yet to expect a revenue of at least $800 million during the election season this year.
However, it is estimated that much of India’s election spend would remain within the black economy. While the standard rule states that a candidate can spend no more than 70 lakh rupees on campaigns, several candidates spend 10 times that amount on media campaigns and rallies, not to mention bribing voters via liquor parties and cash payouts.
According to reports, trends like bribing via cash envelopes hidden in newspapers and mobile phone credit have also become popular in this year’s election campaign. Election authorities have seized almost $32.65 million from politicians over the past few years.
The elections are slated on start on April 7, this year, and would commence over 9 stages to allow free and fair polling. Despite tight security measures, officials believe that vote buying would extend till the last minute and some politicians would use their money power to possibly influence the outcome.
India is all set to enter the elections in April this year. Judging by the overall costs related to election campaigning, the nation is set to overtake the US in being the country which spent the highest amount of money in election campaigning. The fact that BJP candidate Narendra Modi started his campaigns early could lead to the increase in cost that could raise India’s economy a bit for a little while. However, most of the money used in these campaigns goes towards funding rallies and medic programs, and bribing voters. As such, election authorities indicate that chances are there for money to play an important role in deciding the outcome of the upcoming elections.