A Candidate’s Budget for Indian Elections

The Election Commission has put a limit on election expenses. In the case of Parliament Elections, the election expenses in all the major states are limited to Rs. 25,00,000 for each constituency. But everybody including the election commission knows that this rule is rarely respected by any candidate including those of the recognized political parties. The actual expenses by each serious candidate exceed several crores of rupees. There are many questions here for which nobody seeks answers: what is the source of such money being spent in the elections, how do these candidates or political parties plan to recover such amounts spent, how do these political parties (including the opposition) create funds for the next election, are there any accounting or auditing of such funds? This is one area where all political parties, ruling and non-ruling, collude together and keep the people in the dark, both literally and figuratively. It is illegal money that is spent illegally as above. No finance minister ever questions the legality of such big sums of money or its nexus with illegal and criminal activities in the country. No surprise then, that Indians hold about Rs. 6,40,000 crores in Swiss Bank accounts, according to an official report by Swiss Government !. Unless election expenses are actually reduced to a more reasonable level, there is no way to reduce the influence of criminals on party politics and to help a meaningful democracy emerge in India. Now let us try and see what is the reasonable level of election expense is for a parliamentary candidate. Let us make an election budget. Hopefully this will help some people seriously thinking of contesting the elections, say as independents.

 

The election expenses can be put under many heads as below:

 

1

Election Deposit

Rs. 20,000

2

Rallies and Public Meetings

Rs. 2,75,000

3

Transport

Rs. 4,87,500

4

Banners, Posters, Notices and other publications

Rs. 10,05,000

5

Computers and communications

Rs. 3,00,000

6

Expenses towards guest speakers, volunteers, political workers and election agents

 

Rs. 2,25,000

7

Election Offices

Rs. 50,000

8

Miscellaneous Expenses @ approx 5%

Rs. 1,37,500

 

Total

Rs. 25,00,000

 

 

 

 

The above planned estimate of expenses is based on calculations as given in the Appendix. These estimates can be adjusted according to actual field conditions and the types of constituencies, urban, semi-urban or rural.

 

We, as voters, should not expect the candidates, especially serious independents to spend the above amount, out of their pockets. Then it becomes an investment for them and naturally they will look forward to profiting from his office as elected member of the house. This will lead to growing corruption. Hence as voters we should donate major portion of the above amount. Here is guide to independent candidate to mobilize resources for the above amount:

 

From 10 proposers at Rs 10,000 each                                          Rs   1 Lac

From 10 major industrialists and land lords at Rs 40,000 each – Rs. 4 Lacs

From 30 major business men @ Rs. 20000 Each                        Rs. 6 Lacs

From 100 major shop owners @ Rs. 6,000 each                        – Rs. 6 Lacs

From 500 small shop keepers and business men @ Rs. 500     – Rs. 2.5 Lacs

From 5000 well employed people @ Rs. 100 each                    – Rs. 5 Lacs

From Rallies, public meetings, and road shows @ Rs. 500       – Rs. 0.5 Lac

(10 x 3000, 25 x 500, 100 x 80)

Total                     – RS. 25 Lacs

 

We may not be able to collect all this at one stretch. The candidate should create an election fund to be managed by one of his supporters. He should send appeals to all prospective doners. He should publish periodic accounts of the fund’s income and expenses. As his presence on the election scene gets stronger, more and more people will come forward to contribute.

 

Election Count down and Cash Flow

 

Days to Polling

Activity

Expense

Income

Balance

40

Donations from 10 proposers

 

100000

100000

 

Advance from own resources

 

100000

200000

30

Filing of Nomination

10000

 

190000

 

Security Deposit

20000

 

140000

29

1st Public Rally in HQ of Constituency with 2 big posters

10000

 

130000

 

2 Big posters

16000

 

114000

28

Meeting 2 Major industrialist and obtaining donations

 

80000

194000

27

2nd public relay in 2nd big town

10000

 

184000

27

25 small posters in minor towns

25000

 

159000

26

2 public meetings in minor towns and 10 road shows

11000

 

148000

25

3rd public relay in 3rd big town

10000

 

138000

 

10 More Big Posters

80000

 

58000

24

Meeting 4 major industrialist and obtaining Donations

 

160000

218000

24

2 Public meetings in Minor Towns

6000

 

212000

23

4th public relay in 4th big town

10000

 

202000

22

Printing of 10,000 appeals

20000

 

182000

21

5th public relay in 5th big town

10000

 

172000

 

1000 Mini Posters

80000

 

92000

20

1 Public meetings in Minor Towns

3000

 

89000

20

Donations from 10 businessmen

 

200000

289000

20

Hiring 10 cars/Jeeps for 10 days

100000

 

189000

19 to 10

2 public meetings in minor towns and 10 road shows everyday

110000

 

79000

18

Meeting 4 major industrialist and obtaining Donations

 

160000

239000

17

Hiring of all 200 bicycles for 10 days

100000

 

139000

16

Donations from 10 more businessmen

 

200000

339000

16

Election Offices 50 Nos.

50000

 

289000

15

Printing of remaining 33 big posters

264000

 

25000

14

Donations from 50 major shops and 100 minor shops

 

350000

375000

13

6th public rally in 2nd big town

10000

 

365000

12

3000 copies of manifestos

30000

 

335000

11

30,000 bit notices

30000

 

305000

10

10 cars/Jeeps for next 10 days

100000

 

205000

9

Donations from remaining 10 businessmen

 

200000

405000

9 to 1

10 road shows everyday

45000

 

360000

 

Hiring of 25 Autos for 20 days

87500

 

272500

 

Hiring of all 200 bicycles for 10 days

100000

 

172500

 

Donations from 5000 people at Rs100 each

 

500000

672500

 

Computers and communications

300000

 

372500

9

7th public rally in 3rd big town

10000

 

362500

8

Printing of remaining 300 small posters

300000

 

62500

8

8th public rally in 4th big town

10000

 

52500

7

Donations from remaining 50 major shops and 400 minor shops

 

500000

552500

6

9th public rally in 5th big town

10000

 

542500

6

Printing of all 1750 remaining mini posters

140000

 

402500

4

10th public relay in HQ town

10000

 

392500

 

Collections from Rallys and meetings

 

50000

442500

4

Last 20,000 bit notices

20000

 

422500

2

Payment to all guest speakers, volunteers and agents

225000

 

197500

1

 

 

 

197500

0

Election day – Misc Expenses

127500

 

100000

 

Advance from own resources returned

 

-100000

0

 

 

 

 

0

 

Total

2500000

2500000

 

 

 


Campaign Strategy:

Apart from organizing public meetings, rallies and road shows, a candidate should also have separate face-to-face meetings with different sections of society as below:

a)      Politically and socially active people of the constituency

b)      Teachers and college students

c)      Farm labourers and other workers

d)     Artisans like, masons, carpenters, painters, black smiths and gold smiths.

e)      Fabricators and owners of small workshops and garages

f)       Hoteliers, restaurants and shopkeepers

g)      Senior citizens

h)      Women activists and women associations

i)        Religious groups (Care to be taken to avoid appeals on the basis of religion)

j)        Cultural groups and troupes

k)      Employees from Govt and private enterprises

l)        Tax payers…..etc.  

 

The above will help him understand his constituency better and would also help him draft his manifesto (which will be released just two weeks before the election date).

During the campaign, care should be taken to avoid association with criminals and corrupt people in general, especially the already notorious ones. One should also avoid being identified with any special interest groups or any vested interests.

 

It is earnestly hoped that this draft budget for election expenses will encourage honest and socially active independents to come forward to fight the elections and the corrupt political system. We should reduce the need to spend so much on elections to make it as a democracy for the people, of the people and by the people. The people should aspire to do more than just vote. Of course more importantly all people should vote. Jai Hind!

 

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