The 2019 general elections in India would be the most expensive general elections in Indian history, a US based expert has said. The upcoming elections would also be the most expensive elections ever held in any democratic country.
The 2019 general elections will be held to elect 543 members of the Lower House of the Parliament, Lok Sabha.
The Election Commission of India is expected to announce the schedule for its polls soon.
2019 General Elections – Most Expensive Elections
US-based expert Milan Vaishnav has stated that the combined United States presidential and congressional elections that were conducted in 2016 had cost USD 6.5 billion.
Milan Vaishnav is a senior person and director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a top American think-tank.
According to The Times Of India, he said that if the 2014 Lok Sabha elections had cost an estimated USD 5 billion, the upcoming 2019 general elections are expected to easily surpass the former one making India’s elections the world’s most expensive.
The overall expenditure of the general elections may even double this year.
Funding Aspects Of the Elections
Over the years, Milan Vaishnav has emerged as an authoritative voice on the Indian elections and its funding aspects.
He has also analysed the uncertainty associated with the coming election.
The election polls suggest a narrowing gap between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition party. This close competition only provides more fodder for an arms race in spending, he was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
The exorbitant cost of Indian elections has become a cardinal fact of the Indian political economy that is widely acknowledged and lamented – including by politicians and their donors.
– Milan Vaishnav
But it is not simply the material outlays that grab one’s attention, it is the manner in which the money flows, added Milan.
He also said that talking about political contributions, there is virtually zero transparency in India.
It is difficult to identify the donors and their donations to the political parties in the country. No one can figure out from where a politician has obtained money for conducting campaigns.
He stated that only few donors willingly disclose their donations, fearing the retribution should their preferred party not come to power.