Most Expensive Elections: India Tops Global Charts

most expensive election

New Delhi: The recently concluded two-month-long Lok Sabha Election 2024 has not only determined the new government but has also set a remarkable record. India’s Lok Sabha election has become the most expensive election in the world, surpassing even the recent U.S. presidential election. The total expenditure on the 2024 elections has more than doubled compared to 2019, reaching a staggering Rs 1.35 lakh crore. Here are the key details:

  1. Unprecedented Spending:
  • The Center for Media Studies estimates that approximately Rs 1 lakh crore was spent by political parties during this election, a significant increase from the Rs 55,000-60,000 crore spent in the 2019 elections.
  • The total estimated expenditure for the 2024 elections is expected to reach Rs 1.35 lakh crore, making it the most expensive electoral event globally.
  • Even the 2020 U.S. elections, which cost Rs 1.2 lakh crore, pale in comparison to India’s Lok Sabha election spending.
  1. Party Expenditure:
  • The expenditure of only three major political parties BJP, Congress, and Samajwadi Party (SP) has already reached Rs 1 lakh crore in this election, surpassing the total expenditure of the last election.
  • BJP alone accounted for about 45 percent of the total expenditure in the previous Lok Sabha election.
  1. Cost of a Single Vote:
  • With approximately 96.6 crore voters in India, the price of one vote in the 2024 elections stands at around Rs 1,400, compared to Rs 700 in the last Lok Sabha elections.
  • This cost is equivalent to the monthly ration expenses of a middle-class family, including Bharat rice at Rs 29 per kg and Bharat flour at Rs 27.50 per kg.
  1. Election Commission Limits:
  • The Election Commission has set expenditure limits for candidates:
    • Each Member of Parliament (MP) can legally spend up to Rs 95 lakhs.
    • Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) can spend between Rs 28 lakhs and Rs 40 lakhs, depending on the state.
    • In smaller states like Arunachal Pradesh, the limit is Rs 75 lakhs for MPs and Rs 28 lakhs for MLAs.
  • However, there is no cap on the expenditure by political parties themselves.
most expensive election
  1. Historical Perspective:
  • During the first general election in 1951-52, candidates could spend only Rs 25,000.
  • The limit has now increased to Rs 75-95 lakhs, marking a 300-fold rise.
  • Overall election expenditure has also soared, increasing sixfold from Rs 9,000 crore in 1998 to about Rs 55,000 crore in 2019.

India’s Lok Sabha Election 2024 has not only shaped the nation’s political landscape but has also left an indelible mark as the most expensive election ever conducted.