DailyPost 1922

That the Indian politics and governance is completely dependent on elections; elections in a way are the umbilical cord of that ecosystem is no brainer. As they say, every move you make and every breath you take in the political arena has an election connect.  Besides the political ramifications, repercussions, alignments and decision making tangents, there is also an election economy which has been in place for a long time. There is also a covert part of it. What we can call it as commitments at the time of the elections, which keeps on the unfolding during the course of the five-year term power game. A very fascinating side snippet is that it would be very difficult of find out how many of the elected representatives don’t have business interests.

Leaving the personal interest aside, what is the nature of this economy, how does it operate and at what levels and for what consequences. First and foremost are the big election meeting expenses. Lots start much before the announcement of the elections itself. The meetings are not as bland, placid and mechanical as it looks on the tv. From travel to barricading to hoardings to other collectibles is an industry in itself, and they are people in business for every party and there would be some, who do on party loyalty. Payment anyway needs to happen. It is brisk business time. Barricades, pomp and show of the stage and its decoration can be declared as an industry in itself.

If you add them all, it can put expenses of all the marriages combined to shame. Food and frolic are a part of the any extravaganza and this is no different. There would be thousands of leaders across the country, who  sponsor langar’s for months in their constituencies. Accounted / unaccounted, whatever, the economy is there. As electioneering picks up, you will rarely find vehicles which are out of election work, for the political parties and at times for the government. The Election Commission of India and others, running this gigantic exercise, have their own expenditure, which further fuels the election economy. When elections happens in India, only elections happen and only elections happen in this land.

The cost of media blitzkrieg prior to the announcement of elections / model code of conduct would itself be an astronomical amount. With size and consistency of these advertisements and workforce and cost can easily be calculated. IT / digital electioneering has become a specialized game with similar costing. Digital is the new frontier. *Political strategists also don’t come cheap. The fleet of choppers and aircrafts going on whirlwind sorties would not be cheap either. The expenditure and its accounting we leave to wiser counsels, nonetheless, a huge economy exists. Election funding and how it impacts financial / economic decisions we can leave for some other day but that for sure is a part of the extended election economy.


Sanjay Sahay

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