Monday, March 30, 2009

Have money? Take a seat!

How much money does it take to fight a Lok Sabha election? Rs 25 lakhs is the limit set by the Election Commission for a candidate. There are 543 seats so that makes it Rs 13,575 lakhs or Rs 135.75 crores (Rs 1,357.5 million).

How much money does it 'actually' take to fight a Lok Sabha election? That's a tricky question which has many answers. First one is that it depends which party you are representing and from which state. It is reported that candidates in the bigger parties not only need to be 'winnable' but also 'financially viable' for the party. Which means that the candidate has to have the capacity to get a certain minimum amount of money into the party for him or her to be nominated for a seat.

For eg. grapevine has it that a Congress candidate has to have atleast Rs 100 crores before he can approach the party for a seat. Therefore even though the EC may have some figure for maximum election expenses that a candidate can incur, they are obviously talking about 'accounted' wealth. The unaccounted, in reality, has no limit.

The Congress and the BJP are stated to be spending anywhere upto Rs 2000 crores each in this election! So how does that measure up to what's required? This is an election. But the same is true for the economy too. The accounted is over shadowed by the unaccounted by a factor of anywhere between 4 to 10 times! That's the reality today. Reason why no party is serious about "corruption" as an issue.

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