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Scrutiny
  
If not during, then after it...
Money would continue to play a crucial role before or after elections
30/04/2009

Money is increasingly becoming an indispensable proposition when it comes to influencing voters in election s anywhere in the world. Even in developing countries like India, where fiscal deficit is a norm, a gigantic Rs.10,000 crore is estimated to be spent during the election this time. One wonders what could have been done by this money if at all the political parties were serious about bringing in development.

Researches show that the two highest spenders in election are the US and Canada. While Canada spent over $300 million in 2008, the US spent over $5.3 billion in the 2008 US presidential election. Collectively all parties in the US raised over $1.64 billion while the US President Barack Obama alone had raised $532 million which adds up to $7.39 per vote. And mind you, a large chunk of money raised by Obama was a result of small donations received from Obama’s fans and not from big fat corporate donations. Even Nigerians understood the mystery behind the politics of money and allowed its Stock Exchange to allocate $630,000 to influence the US election. This bluntly ignored the US election rule that prohibits political parties from receiving contributions from abroad. The domestic corporates were not far behind. The McCain campaign finance is a case in point. However there is very little connection between money spent and voters’ turnout. Huge expenditure does not guarantee high turn-out. Even after spending millions of dollars, the Canadian election saw a merely 59% voter turnout in 2008!! Yet collection of donations for election continues to be a major business. For, if not in buying votes during elections, who knows it might help in buying the same in the Parliament after elections are over and results are declared.

By:- B&E
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