The late BJP MP Dilip Singh Judev once said the dialogue – Money is not God but not less than God! They were taking money in a sting operation and were saying in front of the hidden camera that money is not God but not less than God. He unknowingly or unknowingly told the reality of India. Truly money is not less than God. Money is the key to power in India. That is the key to winning the election. The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) has studied several elections to show that a millionaire candidate is several times more likely to win an election than a millionaire candidate. So think, how high would the billionaire candidate’s chances of winning be?
The more money one has, the more likely he is to win the election. This is true of the parties as much as it is true of the candidates. ADR had estimated after studying the last assembly elections of Karnataka that the total expenditure in the election together with all the parties was Rs 10 thousand crores. Think, if the election expenditure of a state with 224 assembly and 28 Lok Sabha seats is Rs 10 thousand crore, then what will be the cost of election of 545 Lok Sabha seats? If we make the same figure 20 times the proportion of seats, then the rough expenditure of the Lok Sabha elections will be two lakh crore rupees. This is a conservative estimate. The actual cost may be much higher than this. Now think who will spend the most on this? Obviously, whoever has the power has the most money and will spend the most there.
Now the question is what will the money be spent on? Money will be spent on campaigning, money will be spent on advertisements, money will be spent on social media, money will be spent on election machinery and money will also be spent on voters. Now elections are not fought only on the basis of hard work and passion of the party worker. Now party workers also need money to get into the election campaign. Those who will go to raise slogans and join the procession also need petrol and diesel in the car and also need cash money. The one who becomes the polling agent to conduct the voting also needs money and the counting agent also needs money. Along with political commitment and loyalty, money has played a big role.
Earlier parties used to campaign only and that too in very limited means. But now along with promoting oneself, one has to punctuate the propaganda of the opponents. The leaders of the opposition parties have to be defamed and their reputation has to be tarnished. This is a huge work, which is being done through social media. The budget of managing social media is more than advertising in news channels and newspapers. From YouTube to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you have to promote yourself and spread propaganda against opponents. The parties have hired thousands of their cyber soldiers, whose job it is to make the false and true posts made by the party’s IT cell viral. They get paid for it.
What used to be called carpet bombing two-and-a-half decades ago has changed a lot. Earlier, the helicopter landing of the leader was the costliest form of campaigning. It is not so now. The leaders now appear in 3D. Narendra Modi used this technique in his first election to the Lok Sabha. Now leaders can appear on stage at many places simultaneously. Now parties are installing multi-camera setups to cover their rallies and directly taking satellite feeds, which are being edited, morphed and sent to channels and social media teams.
The money is not only used for propaganda, but also to weaken the opponents. Leaders of opposition parties are being broken by giving crores of rupees, they are being defection. Crores of rupees are being given to each candidate for campaigning. Every big and small leader is campaigning by helicopter. Unaccounted money is being given to the campaigners. There is a separate budget to woo the voters. Liquor worth crores of rupees is distributed before elections. Before every polling, the Election Commission team seizes hundreds of crores of rupees in cash and hundreds of crores of liquor and other materials, which are kept for the voters. Parties give money and gifts to voters. Saree-bindi is distributed among the women and alcohol is given to the men. Expensive phones and other gifts are given. The money game in politics has not only corrupted the politicians but also corrupted the voters. The sanctity of politics and elections has been destroyed.
Think, till some time back the party worker used to take only necessary money for campaigning. Talking about the BJP and its predecessor, the Jana Sangh or the Left parties, the workers used to eat from their homes and campaign for the elections. That is, even if the workers do not take money, then the thought of taking the money of the voters cannot be thought of. but now! Recently, when a by-election was held in a seat in Telangana, news spread that a party was distributing money among voters, then the very next day hundreds of thousands of common citizens sat on a dharna in front of the offices of the parties that they would get money only then they could vote. will go for It was a day of shame for the world’s oldest and largest democracy. But sadly, the parties have made elections such a money game that no one is untouched by it.