The Bharatiya Janata Party spent almost Rs.27,000 crores in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, as per the report revealed by Centre for Media Studies. The report has called the 2019 General Elections the “most expensive election ever, anywhere”.
Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, S.Y Quereshi notes in the report, “Can we sustain our fundamentals without addressing the critical issue of poll expenditure? Initiatives taken by Election Commission of India to curb poll expenditure are hardly sufficient. As a result, Rs. 3377 crore have been seized in this election, three times the amount seized in all of 2014 elections.”
The BJP spent about 20% of the total poll expenditure in 1998, against about 45% in 2019, the report said. Congress, on the other hand, had spent about 40% of total expenditure in 2009, and this has now gone down to 15%-20%.
According to the report, around Rs 12,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore was distributed directly to voters, while Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 25,000 crore was spent on publicity. Logistics accounted for about Rs 5,000 crore, formal expenditure was between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore, while miscellaneous expenses were about Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 6,000 crore.
Never before the candidates, leaders and parties, and even the news media were so much in violation of “model code” of the Election Commission of India (ECI). They all fought the
election as if it had to be fought “at any cost”, states the report.
Opposition parties had earlier demanded a cap on election expenditure, however, the suggestion was not taken into consideration.