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 and Nomination Rs. 30,000
2 10 Public Rallies x Rs 10,000 Rs.1,00,000
3 25 Public Meetings x Rs 3000 Rs. 75,000
4 100 Road Shows x Rs 500 Rs. 50,000
5 Big Posters 50 x Rs. 8000 Rs. 4,00,000
6 Small Posters 300 x Rs. 1000 Rs. 3,00,000
7 Mini Posters 3000 x Rs. 80 Rs. 2,40,000
8 Manifesto 3000 x Rs.15 Rs. 45,000
9 Appeals 10000 x Rs. 2 Rs. 20,000
10 Bit Notices 50000 x Re.1 Rs. 50,000
11 Transport (10 cars, 25 Autos, 200 bicycles) x 20 Days
(200 x 1000, 500 x 175, 4000 x 50) Rs. 4,87,500
12 Computers & Communication Rs. 3,00,000
13 Expenses towards guest speakers, volunteers, political workers and election agents Rs2,25,000
14 Election Offices 50×1000 Rs. 50,000
15 Miscellaneous Expenses Rs. 1,27,500
  Total Expenses Rs. 25,00,000

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:

 

10 proposers @  10000 each Rs   4    Lacs
10 Major Industrialists @  40000 each Rs   4    Lacs
30 Major Business men @  20000 each Rs   6    Lacs
50 Major shop owners @   6,000 each Rs   3    Lacs
500 Small shop-keepers & Business men @      500 each Rs   2.5 Lacs
5000 well employed people @      100 each Rs.  5    Lacs
Hundi Collection from  10-Rallies 10×3000 Rs.  0.3 Lacs
Hundi Collection from 24 public meetings 24×500 Rs.  0.12 Lac
Hundi Collection from  100-road shows 100×80 Rs.  0.08 Lac
TOTAL Collections 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.

 

I am presenting below  a suggested cash flow scheme which can be fine tuned as per the field conditions:

cashflow3-page-001

cashflow3-page-002Campaign Strategy:

Apart from organizing rallies, public meetings,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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