New Delhi, March 28: Ahead of any election in India, the Election Commission of India announces that it has put in place a mechanism to ensure that wealth is not thrown out to win the polls.
The use of money during an election may not be as blatant as it used to be before, but the fact is that money still wins elections.
Various studies and reports have shown that the winning percentage of a candidate is higher when he has a good amount of money or assets.
Candidates find ways of beating the ECI when it comes to spending money. For instance a lot of money begins to flow in to the voter prior to the filing of the nominations. This is normally because the ECI begins scrutinising the money flow thoroughly only after the nominations are filed.
In fact in Tamil Nadu there have been instances when the flying squad has stopped a vehicle on the suspicion that it has been carrying money. While the entire vehicle was checked, the squad did not check the pockets of the inmates. Later it was discovered that seven of the inmates were carrying Rs 1 lakh each in their pockets (Rs 1,000 denomination). Moral of the story is that no matter what candidates will find a way to beat the system.
Money wins elections:
To demonstrate how money does win elections in the state and national level, here are some statistics prepared by the Association for the Democratic Reforms. The case study pertains to the 2012 assembly elections to the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.
Data would show that the candidates with higher assets had a better chance at winning the elections. For instance in the Uttarakhand elections, 46 per cent of the candidates who had declared income of above Rs 5 crore had won. Only 6 per cent of the candidates who had declared income of less than 6 lakh had won.
In Uttarakhand, 5 out of the 11 candidates who had declared income of above 5 crore won. 85 had declared income between Rs 1 to Rs 5 crore and the winners were 32. 142 candidates had declared income of Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore and only 32 won. 94 had declared income of less than Rs 20 lakh and nine won.
In Punjabthe win percentage of candidates with assets above Rs 5 was 37.7 per cent. Win per centage for those with assets worth Rs 1 to Rs 5 crore was 20.3 per cent. Those who declared assets between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 1 crore had a win per centage of 5.8 per cent while the win per cent was 0.5 for those who declared assets less than Rs 20 lakh.
The number of candidates who declared assets of Rs 5 crore and above was 217 and 60 of them won.
211 out of the 996 who declared assets between Rs 1 and Rs 5 crore won. Only 113 out of the 1,249 candidates who declared assets of Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore made it to the assembly. There were 1,660 candidates who had assets under Rs 20 lakh- just 19 won.
In Goa, none of the 47 candidates who declared assets of less than Rs 20 lakh won the elections. 3 out 25 in the Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore assets bracket won the polls. 16 out 57 and 21 out of 57 in the Rs 1 crore to Rs 5 crore and Rs 5 crore and above bracket won the polls.
The Manipur elections too had a similar story. 16 out of the 34 who declared assets of Rs 1 crore and above won. Those who declared assets between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore were 42 in number and 13 of them won.
In the less than Rs 5 lakh bracket, there were 144 candidates and 25 won. Only 6 out of the 54 candidates who declared less than Rs 5 lakh assets won.