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Business News/ Politics / News/  FM Nirmala Sitharaman has no money to contest Lok Sabha polls: Here's how much it costs to fight elections in India
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FM Nirmala Sitharaman has no money to contest Lok Sabha polls: Here's how much it costs to fight elections in India

For a Lok Sabha seat, a candidate can spend not more than ₹95 lakh for bigger constituencies with more voters, and up to ₹75 lakh for smaller constituencies. The limit for assembly constituencies is ₹40 lakh for a bigger seat and ₹20 lakh for a seat with a smaller size and fewer voters.

Nirmala Sitharaman says she has no money to contest Lok Sabha elections. (Shrikant Singh)Premium
Nirmala Sitharaman says she has no money to contest Lok Sabha elections. (Shrikant Singh)

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has declined BJP President JP Nadda’s offer to contest Lok Sabha polls. Wonder why? Because the country’s finance minister says she does not have ‘that kind’ of money to fight elections.

Imagine, if a union minister, that too who holds the finance portfolio, doesn't have the money to fight polls, how much does a candidate need to contest an assembly or a Lok Sabha election in India? Let's take a look:

Also read: Nexus of  money, crime continues  in 2019 polls

The cost of contesting an election depends on the wealth that the candidate has. But there is also a cap on expenditure by the Election Commission of India.

95 lakh cap for Lok Sabha

For a Lok Sabha seat, a candidate can spend not more than 95 lakh for bigger constituencies with more voters, and up to 75 lakh for smaller constituencies.

The limit for assembly constituencies is 40 lakh for a bigger seat and 20 lakh for a seat with a smaller size and fewer voters.

But in reality, this expenditure cap is rarely adhered to. Apart from expenses for campaigning, candidates are known to spend money on freebies to entice voters.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has never contested Lok Sabha elections for which a candidate needs hectic campaigning. She has been a Rajya Sabha member, which of course doesn't require that kind of people connect and campaigning strategies.

Also Read: Why is Nirmala Sitharaman not contesting Lok Sabha elections? Finance Minister says ‘Don’t have money to…'

She declared a net worth of about 2.5 crore in her affidavit when she contested the Rajya Sabha polls in 2016.

593 crore net worth

So far in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, with declared assets worth over 593 crore, DK Suresh, the sitting MP and Congress candidate from Bengaluru Rural is one of the richest candidates in the fray as on March 29. Suresh is brother of Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar.  

Among others, Ashok Kumar, the AIADMK candidate for the Erode seat, has declared assets worth 583 Crores . There will be more candidates filing nominations for the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections 2024 beginning on April 19.

Clearly, elections and money go hand in hand. The wealthier you are, the easier it is for you to fight elections. But remember, being rich doesn't guarantee you a victory in elections. Some of the richest candidates have lost their deposits in the past elections.

Also Read: From PM Modi to Amit Shah, BJP releases star campaigners list

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, of the top 10 richest candidates, six were from the Congress party. The richest was an independent candidate Ramesh Kumar Sharma, who contested from Patliputra in Bihar. Sharma had declared assets worth over 1,107 crore.

Nakul Nath richest LS MP

Sharma lost the election badly. In fact, only five super-rich candidates won the elections in 2019. This included Congress leader Nakul Nath. Son of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, businessman Nakul is the richest MP in the present Lok Sabha. In 2019, he had declared a net worth of about 660 crore.

Nakul Nath is also contesting 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This time his net worth is 700 crore, registering an increase of 40 crore in last five years. 

And among those who lost in 2019, despite the wealth, included Jyotiradiya Scindia, then a Congress leader and now the country’s Civil Aviation Minister. Scindia's net worth is 379 crore.

Jaya Bachchan among richest RS MPs

As many as 27 current Rajya Sabha members are billionaires. The average asset of a Rajya Sabha MP is 81 crore, according to an analysis by Election Watchdog ADR done in August last year.

Also Read: Lok Sabha elections 2024: Varun Gandhi's heartfelt note for the people of Pilibhit after BJP snub, ‘will continue to…’

The richest Rajya Sabha MP is BRS leader and business tycoon Bandi Saradhi with a net worth of 5,300 crore. Saradhi, the richest MP from Telangana, followed by YSR Congress MP Ayodhya Reddy whose net worth is 2,577 crore. Actor-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan is also among the top ten richest Rajya Sabha MPs with a net worth of over 1,500 crore along with her superstar husband Amitabh Bachchan.

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Published: 28 Mar 2024, 05:11 PM IST
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