New Delhi: India will spend over Rs 5,000 crore on the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, with around Rs 10 crore estimated to be spent on each constituency on an average, the Election Commission said today.
Conduct of Assembly elections in four states -- Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh -- will cost the exchequer about Rs 1,000 crore, Election Commissioner H S Brahma said.
Stating this here, he noted that the EC had raised the cap of spending by each candidate during Lok Sabha polls in bigger states to Rs 70 lakh from Rs 40 lakh. For smaller states, the cap will be Rs 54 lakh.
The Lok Sabha polls will be held in nine phases from April 7 to May 12. Alongside, polls will be held to assemblies of four states.
Noting that money power is creating an "uneven playing field" in the elections, he said this was a challenge along with criminalisation of politics.
"Sadly, the biggest challenge to all of us today is the nexus between the politicians and crime and secondly the money power," he said.
He said some candidates are unhappy with the cap on election spending imposed by the EC as they contend that the expenditure incurred by them is much more than this, Brahma said during a CII interaction.
"One gentlemen came up to me and said why did you raise it to only Rs 70 lakh...Raise it to Rs three crore, how can we fight elections with only Rs 70 lakh," the Election Commissioner said.
"When I asked how much you would be spending, he said he would spend more than Rs 35 crore. Further, he said he can manage to raise the amount," Brahma said.
Citing another example, he said a candidate in Andhra Pradesh was ready to spent as much as Rs 100 crore over elections.