With an Electoral population of 831 Millions, Eletions for The central Government is being conducted in States and Union Territories for 543 Lok Sabha
(Federal Government seats) seats. ( between 7April and 12 May 2014).
(This is an article I wrote for a French Magazine, taking into account the International Audience)
The Cost to the Election Commission which regulates and conducted Elections is Rs, 35 Billion.
India Election 2014.Image Credit . Ap News Corner.
The Political Parties will be spending US $ 5 Billion, second highest in the world after the US Presidential election 2012.
(This does not take into account the Black Money being spent by the parties and the candidates)
As general elections draw closer, ‘unaccounted money’ may account for over one-third of total Rs 30,000 crore estimated to be spent on these polls, a study says.
*(Rs I Crore in dollars is 214,431)
While various national and regional parties are estimated to spend Rs 8,000-10,000 crore for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, candidates at their
individual level may spend a whopping amount of Rs 10,000-13,000 crore, as per the study conducted by research think-tank CMS.
These figures include both official and unaccounted expenses.
Till the 10th of April, the Election Commission has caught about Rs,500 Crore.
The Election Commission has ordered seizure of money over Rs.Ten lakhs without proper documentation; Banks, Airports,Railroads ,Bus Stations are n the watch
The campaign trail is vast and all the known forms and some novel methods are used.
Internet ads, blogs,Paid News by TV Channels and Print Media,Media Advertising,Mobile Calls, SMS,Posters,Buntings,Leaflets, .. all tricks are resorted to.
Unique style of garnering votes in Tamil Nadu are,
Dropping a 500 Rupee Note in an Aarthi plate(traditional way of welcoming a visitor, where a plate with Turmeric powder and Vermillion is dissolved in water and shown to the Guest)
Attending personal functions like the birth of a baby, Naming the child, attending marriages, and even Death and offering Cash or donations in kind.
Offering Cheap country liquor, Biryani, a none veg delicacy free of cost.
Carting people to attend Party Public meetings in Lorries,Trucks, offering them Food, Liquor and Cash .
Visiting people at Home and offering them cash.
Falling at the feet of Elders and at times even children!
The Ruling Party at the centre in the UPA(United Progressive Alliance ) led by the century old Indian National Congress.
It has a Coalition of State Parties with their own agenda.
Against this is the NDA(National Democratic Alliance), led by the Opposition The BJP, Bharatiya Janata Party.
It also has a patch work of Regional parties.
Then we have a motley group of Third front , which belongs to none of the groupings above and are awaiting the results to form a Coalition sans the Congress and BJP.
The Ruling Party is besieged with scams galore starting with Rs.i,86,000 Lakh crore 2 G Spectrum allotment in Telecom Sector,Helicopter Scam involving crores of Rupees,ISRO (Space Agency),Housing irregularities and many more.
Also there were instances of moral turpitude by the senior party members.
The economy , despite claims that the Macro economy is performing well, the price of essentials are shooting up.
There is a Prime Minister who wields no power but the Government is controlled by the leader of the Congress party, an Italian woman , the wife of Late Rajiv Gandhi, ex-Prime Minister of India.
The Family has been ruling India for three generations starting from Jawaharlal Nehru, through Indira Gandhi, his daughter and by her son Rajiv Gandhi.
Now the party has indicated that Rahul Gandhi, son of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial Candidate.
The Opposition has announced Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, of the BJP party.
Curiously India does not have a Presidential form of Government.
It has a Federal set up where the leader of the major party in the Elections outings ,shall form the Government!
The reason is that the opposition has no Policies different from the Ruling party.
But the BJP off and on plays the Hindu Card, claiming that the Hindus are not treated equally in what is essentially Hindu Country , with the Muslims.
The ruling Congress party plays the Muslim card .
And both the parties play the Caste Card regularly.
Even now, the candidates are selected based on the caste considerations, that is the candidate belonging to the caste of the Majority voters are selected.
Both the parties are equally shy of giving equal opportunities for women despite proclamations to the contrary.
On the security issues there is no difference between both the parties.
Or On the Economic Policies.
So each party is accusing the other of corruption .
While the Congress is harping on Stability factor , the BJP is calling the Congress as Corrupt.
Then the deciding factor will be the regional parties, who can decide the formation of the Government when the results are likely to be fragmented.
Though the opinion polls have revealed a high gain for BJP and the lowest ever seats for the Congress, no party, except the BJP shall get simple majority.
This would necessitate the support of the regional parties.
They shall go in for their pound of flesh in terms of Cabinet berths!
And they have their regional agenda which will be difficult to fulfil in a federal setup, ( the regional parties also know this,)
The major States that have more Lok Sabha seats,shall decide the formation of the Government are UP (80),West Bengal (42),Maharashtra(48),AP (420, Tamil Nadu,Bihar (40 each)
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is nurturing the ambitions of becoming the Prime Minister if both the congress and BJP do not get simple majority.
And the Chief Minister of Bihar too has this ambition.
Therefore the result is likely to be , as of now, the BJP might get more seats way ahead of Congress , yet shall fall short of majority.
The Regional parties might play a vital role.
Yet the charisma of the BJP prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi might sweep the polls because of the inexperience of Rahul Gandhi who shoots himself in the mouth..
Election is on for one seat for Mizoram on 11 April.
Twenty-two Villagers near Delhi travelled by rowing a boat across the Yamuna River,walked for 4 kilometres to cast their votes, covering a total of 90km on 10 April.
In Tamil Nadu, a Party’s candidate was withdrawn to accommodate an opposition party candidate, who joined the Party 48 hours before!
An actor who was a Leader of the opposition in Taml Nadu, beat up the candidate in the last Elections in Tamil Nadu.
He usually comes to Public Meetings roaring drunk and does not even remember the Candidates’ Name.!
Many actors are in the fray now, but no heavy weights now.
Four actors have become Chief Ministers and were very powerful and popular and in fact one is now the powerful chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and
a contender for the Prime Minister’s Post.