General elections are due to be held in India in April or May 2019 to constitute the seventeenth Lok Sabha. The two major national parties – BJP & Congress will be the locking horns in this 17th general election for securing a majority of seats in the lower house.
Narendra Modi’s government had targeted for two continuous terms, and the way they were making clean sweeps in state elections initially, the Modi wave was quite prominent. But the recent Gujarat elections and the uprisings in different parts of the country against the ‘Pro-Hindutva government’, shows a very different side of the coin.
Out of 29 states, BJP is currently ruling in 19 states with or without an alliance. These 19 states are – Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, U.P, Rajasthan, Manipur, Maharashtra, M.P, Jharkhand, Haryana, Gujarat, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Assam & Arunachal Pradesh with BJP government & states like – Andhra Pradesh (TDP), Bihar (JDU), Jammu & Kashmir (PDP), Nagaland (NPF), & Sikkim (SDF) has BJP’s government in coalition with regional parties.
Election expense in general terms refers to the accumulated cost of preparation and design of the advertisement that promotes a candidate or a party. This cost includes postage, printing, and publication and also the composition of the material. As predicted by the experts, an astonishing amount close to Rs. 30,000 crore is expected as the cost of the elections in 2019. This amount will be spent by the Government which will make this election the most expensive one to date. A survey carried out by Centre for Media Studies on poll expenses indicates "unaccounted for" money which is injected in by highly rich candidates and contractors have helped to push up the expenditure.
The Election Commission is expected to spend approximately Rs. 3,500 crore. The Union Home Ministry along with Indian Railways and various other state governments or agencies will bear a similar expenditure to ensure fair and unbiased polls. However, the final figures can only be determined after the poll process is initiated.
The CMS study claims that in 1996 Lok Sabha election Rs. 2,500 crore was spent, the amount hiked to Rs. 10,000 crore in 2004 polls. As per the data recorded from Election Commission and Law Ministry websites and processed by the poll panel, expenditure for the polls have gone up by almost 20 times that is from 60 paise (per head or per voter) in the first general elections which were held in 1952 to Rs. 12 in 2009. Here are some more facts that deserve mention in this respect:
According to the CMS study, if Rs. 30,000 crore is expected to be spent in the 2019 poll, then per voter expenditure will rise to Rs. four-hundred to Rs. five-hundred per voter. And if the turnout is seventy-five percent, the expenditure will amount to Rs. five hundred to Rs. six hundred per voter.