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Lok Sabha polls 2019: All you need to know about rules of campaign financing and spending

In the 2014 campaign, the BJP declared spending of 7.12 billion rupees, over 40 per cent more than Congress.

General election 2019 expected to cost almost $8.6 billion

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is flush with cash in the current Indian general election and is expected to easily outspend opposition parties, as he seeks a second term in office.

This year's election is expected to cost almost $8.6 billion, according to the Centre for Media Studies, as politicians splash out on everything from advertising to giant rallies, as well as gifts and transport across the nation of 1.3 billion.


Parties receives funds in cash, cheques & electoral trusts

Individuals and corporations donate to political parties, but lack of transparency makes it impossible to follow the money trail.

Traditionally, parties have received funds in cash, cheques, and electoral trusts.

A cap on corporate donations to political parties, which banned donations worth more than 7.5 per cent of average net profit over three years, was removed.

Companies with partial foreign ownership were allowed to donate. And firms were no longer obliged to disclose which parties they were financially backing.


Electoral bonds

The most high-profile change was the creation of 'electoral bonds,' which allow individuals or companies to deposit funds in a political party's bank account at the State Bank of India.

Donors can purchase as many bonds as they please and their identity is not revealed. 

Political parties must declare the amount of money they have received through the bonds, but not the funders' identity.


Parliamentary candidates allowed to spend up to 7 million rupees

Political parties are free to spend at will while parliamentary candidates are only allowed to spend up to 7 million rupees in this election.

But lack of effective oversight by the Election Commission of India (ECI) has allowed candidates to flout the limit without much fear of being caught, according to politicians and election experts. 


In 2014, BJP spending jumped nearly five-fold to 13.09 billion rupees

In the 2004 general vote, India's top six national parties officially spent about 2.69 billion rupees, as per their declarations to the ECI. 

A decade later, in the 2014 election that swept Modi to power, their declared spending had jumped nearly five-fold to 13.09 billion rupees.

In the 2014 campaign, the BJP declared spending of 7.12 billion rupees, over 40 per cent more than Congress. 

In the fiscal year end March 31, 2018, the BJP had an income of 10.2 billion rupees, five times the level Congress declared.