India is the world's biggest democracy and a report suggests that it also concluded the most expensive elections in the world.
According to New Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies, as reported by Bloomberg, political parties and candidates spent nearly Rs 60,000 crore ($8.7 billion) to woo 900 million voters in the 2019 general elections. The number is twice as much spent in 2014 polls, it said.
In a field study conducted by the CMS, it found that Rs 700 was spent per voter or nearly Rs 100 crore in each parliamentary constituency, based on its analysis and estimation.
The report said that while some candidates spent on publicity and logistics, others distributed cash for votes.
While the Election Commission of India has set no cap on how much a political party can spend in an election, there is a limit imposed on individual candidate's spending. The expenditure limit on candidates is between Rs 50-70 lakh for each Lok Sabha elections, based on the state (and its population) they are contesting from.
Candidates of all states, except Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim, can spend a maximum of Rs 70 lakh on canvassing. The cap for Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim is fixed at Rs 54 lakh. In case of Union Territories, the limit is set at Rs 54 lakh, except for Delhi where a candidate can spend up to Rs 70 lakh.
In assembly elections, candidates can spend between Rs 20-28 lakh.
The limit includes money spent by a political party or a supporter towards the candidate's campaign.
According to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks money in American politics, about $6.5 billion was spent during the US presidential and congressional elections in 2016.