The government, political parties and candidates are likely to spend a mind-boggling Re. 30, 000 Crore in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the most expensive in Indian history. The projected expenditure for the 16th Lok Sabha will rival the $ 7 billion (Re 42,000 Crore) on the 2012 US presidential elections, says a study by the Centre for Media Studies. Unaccounted money pumped in by “crorepati” candidates, corporates and contractors has propelled the bill to elect 543 MPs for the Lok Sabha.
Out of the total Rs 30,000 crore, the exchequer will spend Re. 7,000-8,000 Crore to conduct the polls. The Election Commission will spend around Rs 3,500 crore while the Home Ministry, Railways, government agencies and state governments will spend an equal amount on ensuring LS poll arrangements. The recent decision to hike the expenditure limit for Lok Sabha elections to a maximum of Re. 70 lakh is one of the reasons for the poll bill touching this level. After this hike, the candidates alone could spend about Re. 4,000 crore in the LS polls.
Till recently, political parties spent more during the polls but the trend has changed now, with the candidates spending more than their parties. Most of this money comes from crorepati candidates, corporates and contractors, fuelling a big, parallel black economy.