Election expenditure: India

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Bribing voters

2014, 2017

Seizures of alcohol, cash and drugs during elections in 2014, 2017
From: March 20, 2019: The Times of India

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Seizures of alcohol, cash and drugs during elections in 2014, 2017

The things that are given to voters as bribes

The things that were meant to be given to voters as bribes, presumably as in 2019 March
From: April 6, 2019: The Times of India

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The things that were meant to be given to voters as bribes, presumably as in 2019 March

Cash and election funds

Parties got 60% of '09 Maha, Haryana poll funds in cash Sep 23 2014

New Delhi:

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Election cash.jpg

Political funding continues to be largely through cash transactions, indicating a high presence of black money in the process.A study by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said while over 60% of funds collected for the 2009 Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana were in cash, spending by the political parties was to a large extent in cheque or demand draft.

In Maharashtra the total fund collected by political parties was Rs 81.07 crore, of which 61.7% or Rs 50.02 crore was collected in cash and 34.85% or Rs 28.25 crore was collected by cheque or DD.While Congress declared the maximum amount of Rs 36.12 crore, CPM declared the least amount of Rs 0.13 crore and BSP declared that it did not collect any fund. Out of the total expenditure of Rs 69.79 crore declared by national and regional parties, Rs 59.33 crore (85%) was paid in cheque, while Rs 8.9 crore (13%) was spent in cash.

For publicity, parties spent parties spent the lion's share or Rs 40.19 crore (65%) on advertisement, Rs 15.53 crore (or 25%) on electronic media and Rs 4.58 crore (or 7%) on cutouts, hoardings. Travel expenses too took up some amount (Rs 7.72 crore) of which they spent Rs 6.85 crore on aircrafts and helicopters.

In comparison the amount collected by parties in Haryana was Rs 15.74 crore of which Rs 11.77 crores (or 74.78%) was collected in cash and Rs 2.31 crores (or 14.67%) was by cheque or DD.

The total spending amounted to Rs 15.87 crore, which included Rs 6.56 crore (41.34%) in cash, while Rs 9.09 crore (57.25%) was through cheque or DD. Of this, 77% of the expenditure was on publicity, 20% on candidates, 2% on travel expenses and 1% on miscellaneous expenses.Congress, INLD and HJC (BL) declared the maximum spend on publicity

1951-2014: the cost of a general election

March 26, 2019: The Times of India

Parliamentary elections in India, 1951-2014: the total cost of holding an election
From: March 26, 2019: The Times of India
Parliamentary elections in India, 1951-2014: what every vote cost
From: March 26, 2019: The Times of India
Parliamentary elections in India, 1951-2014: the number of voters
From: March 26, 2019: The Times of India


Democracy doesn't come cheap — and every five years, when it's time for its renewal in India, the costs seem to go up. While it remains to be seen how much the 2019 Lok Sabha polls will end up costing the country, the last Lok Sabha polls in 2014 saw an unprecedented jump in both total expenses and the cost of getting a voter to the polling booth.

The grand event: The cheapest parliamentary elections organised so far in India were the second Lok Sabha polls, held in 1957 — they were cheaper than a Maybach S600 Guard, which costs over Rs 10 crore. The most expensive election was 2014's, at three-fourths of the total cost incurred on all the previous general elections. The expenditure includes the cost of setting up polling stations, payment to polling personnel and counting staff, installation of temporary telephone facilities at polling and counting centres, purchase of election material such as indelible ink and ammonia paper.

Voter's share: The cost per voter has risen steadily since the first Lok Sabha polls, from less than a rupee in the first six general elections to close to Rs 50 in the last polls, with the 2014 elections seeing a near three fold jump in the average cost incurred on each voter.

Voter base: India's voter base has risen by more than five times from the first general elections, when fewer people than UP's current population of over 20 crore were eligible to exercise their franchise. This year 900 million are eligible, more than the combined population of the US, Brazil and Indonesia, the world's third-, fourth- and fifth-most populous countries.

2014: world’s most expensive election

Election spend in 2014 Indian elections vis-à-vis 2016 US elections.
From: March 16, 2019: The Times of India

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Election spend in 2014 Indian elections vis-à-vis 2016 US elections.


Submission of donor list by electoral trusts

The Times of India

Feb 06 2015

Only one out of 7 electoral trusts submits donor list

Himanshi Dhawan

In yet another indication of opacity in political funding, only one of the seven electoral trusts formed after January 2013 has submitted details of its donors to the Election Commission, despite government guidelines requiring them to do so. Electoral trusts are set up for the sole purpose of funding registered political parties and according to the June 2014 guidelines they are expected to submit an annual report to the EC.

Only the Bharti Airtel group-backed Satya Electoral Trust has submitted its annual report for the year 20132014. Among those who have not submitted any information include Pratinidhi Electoral Trust, People's Electoral Trust, Progressive Electoral Trust, Janhit Electoral Trust, Bajaj Electoral Trust and Janpragati Electoral Trust. According to data analysed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the Satya Trust received Rs 85.40 crore and distributed Rs 85.37 crore to various parties.The largest corporate contributors to the trust are Bharti Enterprises which gave Rs 36 crore, DLF (Rs 20 crore), Hero Motocorp (Rs 11 crore), Jubliant Bharti Group (Rs 6 crore), Interglobe Aviation Limited and K K Birla Group which donated Rs 4 crore and Rs 2 crore, respectively.

These donations were channeled to BJP, Congress and NCP, with the saffron party being the largest recipient.BJP received Rs 41.37 crore (48.44%) of the total donations made to the trust followed by Congress with Rs 36.50 crore and NCP with Rs 4 crore. Regional parties like SAD, RJD and J&K's National Conference also received donations from the Satya trust.

About 15 corporates have established electoral trusts.

While some information is available about these, there are nine trusts about which no information is available with the authorities.

Directives issued by EC in Bihar assembly polls: June 2015

The Times of India, Jul 13 2015

Pradeep Thakur

Candidates can't take over Rs 20k in cash: EC

New directives issued ahead of Bihar polls

Ahead of assembly elections in Bihar, the Election Commission has issued fresh directives which include prohibiting candidates from accepting any donation or loan in excess of Rs 20,000 in cash. Also, all permissions taken for hiring and deployment of vehicles during campaigning will be added to a candidate's poll expenditure and will not be treated as the party's poll spend.

Starting with the Bihar polls, a candidate will have to maintain a separate account for all donations and loans he she receives during campaigning for amounts in excess of Rs 20,000. All such donations have to be received only through a crossed account payee cheque or bank draft, like in the case of political parties.

The guidelines have been issued in view of large cash seizures during recent assembly elections in several states. During the 2014 parliamentary elections, the EC and income tax teams had seized more than Rs 275 crore in cash from associates of candidates.

When the huge cash seizures were tracked to some candidates, many claimed the money belonged to the party and was meant for campaigning.

The fresh guidelines, issued on June 9, directs all chief electoral officers in states to inform candidates and political parties that candidates shall open a separate bank account for election campaign purposes. Parties have also been directed to make all payments to candidates by account transfer and not in cash. In a number of complaints reaching the EC, it was found that several candidates hired a large number of vehicles for campaigning but didn't declare this as part of their expenditure returns.

Candidates often under-report their poll expenditure due to a ceiling imposed on them.While the EC has imposed a cap on expenditure by candidates, there is no such limit in case of parties. This often results in candidates showing expenditure in the name of parties when caught by EC observers.

According to the fresh guidelines, if a candidate does not intend to use the campaign vehicles for more than two days after obtaining permission from a returning officer, he shall intimate the returning officer to withdraw the permission.

Cash seizures, pre-poll

2016: Tamil Nadu

The Times of India, May 13 2016

Pre-poll cash seizure in TN Rs 100cr, highest-ever in history

Sivakumar B

Total cash seized in Tamil Nadu since the model code came into effect has crossed Rs 100 crore, the highest ever in the history of Indian elections. However, Andhra Pradesh holds the record for combined seizures of cash and material worth Rs 140 crore during the 2014 Lok Sabha and state assembly elections.

Seizures in TN include recent raids on the Chennai office of a distillery owned by a former DMK minister's family, from which Rs 3.58 crore was confiscated, and Rs 2 crore seized from a DMK candidate in Karur in central TN. In earlier instances, Rs 4.87 crore was seized from a businessman close to an AIADMK minister. In Chennai, more than Rs 3 crore was also seized from a flat in upmarket Egmore early this month. Officials have also seized goods worth Rs 70 crore, mostly liquor, meant for distribution to voters.

“More than than the long period of the model code of conduct being in effect in Tamil Nadu, it is the new strategies adopted by the EC to con trol money power which has yielded results. In coming days, surveillance in all 234 constituencies will be strengthened and we will take utmost care to prevent distribution of money to voters by any political party,“ Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told TOI.

Apart from cash, surveillance teams have seized thousands of litres of liquor, ganja, gold and silver, the CEC said. Of the total cash seizures, nearly Rs 38 crore has been returned to its owners after they produced documents showing the source.The rest is believed to have been meant for use as inducements to influence voters.

Man arrested for taking money for vote

The Times of India

In the first-ever action taken against a voter for receiving money from candidates or their representatives in the state, a farm labourer was arrested in Katpadi for receiving Rs 1,000 allegedly from some DMK functionaries.

EC norms, flouting

Tamil Nadu: 2016

The Times of India, April 19, 2016

The Thirumangalam Formula; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, April 19, 2016

The Times of India, Apr 19 2016

50% poll spends flout EC code, here's how it happens

Jayaraj Sivan

The Election Commission is worried about the growing influence of cash in campaigning -from mobilising crowds for rallies to payouts to voters. Days ago, when RBI governor Raghuram Rajan flagged the spike in cash circulation during polls, he grabbed the attention of CEC Nasim Zaidi. The CEC was set to ask RBI for inputs so the matter could be followed up on. The EC in TN tied up with Facebook for a campaign: My Vote Is Not For Sale. Will the efforts impact voters?

Poll expenditure is in cash, leaving no trail for the EC to chase it. Nearly 50% of expenses are for activities that qualify as code violation.

About 30% is spent hiring vehicles, aircraft and payment to cadre, roughly 20% is used for advertising. A senior TN official estimated that up to Rs 9,000 crore is spent during a state election.Parties have already dispatched BATTLE money to various destinations, but handout to voters will happen days TAMI before polling. Going by experience, the EC may not be able to stop it.

Netas too are blasé. In June 2013, late BJP neta Gopinath Munde conceded that he spent Rs 8 crore on his 2009 LS campaign. (In 2014, the upper limit was revised to Rs 70 lakh). He added: “I hope no EC official is in the audience.“

Munde won in 2014. In the run-up to the 2009 LS polls, when the EC estimated that the elections could cost the EC, government and parties Rs 5,000 crore, research centre CMS estimated the cost would be double that for parties and netas. Analyst Raveenthiran Doraisamy feels barely 5% voters are influenced by bribes: “Many , even after taking money, vote as per their choice.“

But the practice has only grown. “The dis ease of lavish election spend is spreading,“ former CEC T S Krishnamurthy said. In `The Miracle of Democracy: India's Amazing Journey ,' he says, “Elections are essential but not enough; it is possible to have elections without sustainable democracy. If the election is flawed, it is worse than not having an election at all, for it opens the floodgates for social injustice and authoritarianism.“

There's no cap on expenditure par ties incur and much of the individual spend is shown as party expenditure.

Former CEC N Gopalaswami says the EC has mooted a CAG audit of party income and expenditure. Over half the candidates quote 50% of ROUND permitted spend when submitting NADU accounts after elections.

“It's not possible to sift through hours of footage to crosscheck. EC scrutinises the returns only if there are specific complaints,“ he says. When election tracking NGO Association for Democratic Reforms reviewed affidavits of 6,753 candidates ahead of the 2009 LS polls, it found only four had said they spent beyond the limit, says Jagdeep Chokkar.

“Only 30 candidates said they spent more than 90% of the permitted amount. The majority said they spent only 45%-55% of the limit. Still, the parties clamour to raise the spending limit.“

2011: West Bengal assembly elections

The Times of India, June 26, 2011

Cong spend in Bengal poll highest

With average expenditure of 7L, CPM budget the lowest: Study

The 2011 assembly elections in West Bengal saw the CPM having the lowest average poll expense followed by Trinamool Congress. The average spending by the Congress candidates was the highest at 64.7%.

Smita Bakshi of Trinamool, a candidate from Jorasanko constitutency in West Bengal, made the highest expenditure of Rs 15.65 lakh against the Election Commission’s limit of Rs 16 lakh. Even the lowest expenditure was by Trinamool’s Namita Saha from Magrahat Purba constituency. Hamidul Rahaman, an independent candidate from Chopra constituency, spent Rs 15.21 lakh, the highest by an independent in the state.

Detailed analysis released by ADR-Election Watch on Saturday shows that the average money spent by 217 newly elected MLAs of West Bengal was only Rs 7 lakh, 44% of the expense limit of Rs 16 lakh.

Only six MLAs have declared that they spent more than 80% of the amount. A total of 147 MLAs have declared election expenses less than Rs 8 lakh. Out of 217 MLAs analysed, three declared that they did not spend any money on public meetings, processions, etc. As for expense on campaigning through electronic or print media, 163 MLAs declared they did not spend any amount, while 26 MLAs spent less than Rs 10,000.

In Kerala also, the expenditure by ruling CPM candidates was 50.8%. Congress candidates spent 62.8% of the limit while Muslim League candidates spent 65.9% and those of the Kerala Congress (M) 69.8%.

Only four MLAs declared that they spent more than 80% of the limit of Rs 16 lakh. The maximum expense of Rs 15.26 lakh was declared by Basheer of Muslim League from Eranad constituency in Kerala, followed by Kunhalikutty of Muslim League from Vengara (Rs 13.99 lakh) and B Sathyan of CPM from Attingal constituency (Rs 13.8 lakh).

The minimum expense of Rs 2.49 lakh has been declared by K Kunhiraman of CPM from Udma constituency followed by Jayalakshmi of Congress from Mananthavady with an expense of about Rs 4 lakh and K K Jayachandran of CPM from Udumbanchola with an expenditure of Rs 4.5 lakh. In Kerala, 54 MLAs declared that they did not spend any money on campaigning through electronic or print media.

In Assam, the average money spent by MLAs was only Rs 9 lakh, about 56% of the expense limit of Rs 16 lakh. The average expenditure of Congress’s 78 MLAs was Rs 10.12 lakh, Rs 8.26 lakh for 12 MLAs of Bodo People’s Front, Rs 7.45 lakh for Asom Gana Parishadand Rs 6.36 lakh for All India United Democratic Front’s 18 MLAs .

The maximum expense of Rs 15.99 lakh was delared by Abu Taher Bepari of Congress followed by Monika Bora and Nazrul Islam, both of Congress. The minimum expense of Rs 1.73 lakh was declared by Abul Kalam Azad of AIUDF followed by party colleague Moinuddin Ahmed who spent Rs 2.12 lakh.

Expenses of candidates

2014

What candidates in the 2014 elections claim they had spent on electioneering
From: March 19, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

What candidates in the 2014 elections claim they had spent on electioneering

Security deposits

1952-2014

1952-2014: Security deposits forfeited in LS elections and amount collected by the EC.
From: April 13, 2019: The Times of India


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1952-2014: Security deposits forfeited in LS elections and amount collected by the EC.

Forfeitures in 2014-16

Sivakumar B, EC bags Rs 36cr in lost deposits since 2014 polls, Oct 20 2016 : The Times of India


Election Commission of India has collected Rs 36.17 crore since 2014 from more than 27,000 candidates who didn't poll the required minimum number of votes in state and Lok Sabha elections and forfeited their deposits. In the past two years, EC has conducted one Lok Sabha poll and 14 assembly elections.

In assembly elections, Maharashtra has the maximum number of candidates who have lost their deposit followed by Tamil Nadu. In Maharashtra, candidates lost deposits worth Rs 3.12 crore and worth Rs 2.97 crore in Tamil Nadu.

In 2014 Lok Sabha poll, 7,000 candidates lost their deposits, which comes to Rs 16.07 crore.Candidates need to get at least 16th of the total valid votes polled in the constituency to secure their deposit, but many independents and candidates from smaller parties fail to do so.

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