Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Use of alcohol as bribe during elections is paralyzing the democracy...

Indian politicians are expected to spend around $5 billion during the lead up to the general elections next month, reported Reuters on Sunday, the second most costliest election campaign in the world – behind only the U.S. Presidential Elections.

 Citing a study by the Centre for Media Studies, which tracks campaign spending, Reuters reported that the figure would be nearly triple what was spent on electioneering during the last national poll in 2009, while a significant percentage would also go into “bribing” voters with cash payouts or alcohol.

“Indian politicians regularly bribe voters with cash payouts or alcohol to secure their support,” claimed Reuters. “Recent state elections have seen innovations such as getting money to voters via mobile phone credit and envelopes of cash delivered in morning papers.”

Officially, Indian politicians are only allowed to spend a maximum of 7 million rupees ($114,000) on campaigns for a parliament seat. The real cost of winning however is about 10 times that, thanks to spending on rallies, fuel and media campaigns that often include payments for coverage.

The Centre For Media Studies said that the expected campaign spend this year will likely give a temporary spike to the economy. India's advertising industry could see an $800 million injection during the election season, according to reports, while media firms and publications are also expected to benefit.

The Indian General Elections will start on April 7 and will stretch all to way to May 12. Polls are being staggered in nine stages to help security forces prevent polling booth fraud.

The Centre for Media Studies' spending projections are based on analyses of rising costs in local and state elections in the past five years. It also surveys voters on prevalence of bribes.

Comparatively, India's projected campaign spending is only outmatched by the $7 billion spent by candidates, parties and support groups in the 2012 U.S. presidential race, according to data provided by the U.S. election commission

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