Though attempts were made to check the spiralling amounts of money spent during the campaign for Lok Sabha polls, neither the political parties nor the Election Commission have attained the desired results in the run-up to the 2009 Parliamentary elections.
According to rough estimates, the actual cost of running the campaign has crossed the staggering sum of Rs 50,000 crore.
According to insiders in the Congress and the BJP, both parties spent over Rs 20 crore in merely ferrying their leaders across India during the campaign. While the Congress had hired 21 helicopters and 18 executive jets, the BJP had hired 21 helicopters and 14 jets. These parties had to shell out Rs 80,000 per hour on each helicopter, plus the landing charges.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani were allowed to use Air Force planes to travel to their election rallies across India.
The political parties have reportedly spent Rs 3000 crore on advertisement campaigns. The Congress spent Rs one crore just to buy the rights of superhit song Jai Ho, but it failed to click with the masses.
Even smaller parties like the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal also spent a considerable amount of money on the campaign trail.
The Election Commission's budget for the 2009 elections is Rs 1,300 crore, which includes the conduct of polls plus transportation and movement of security forces. The state governments and other government agencies have earmarked Rs 700 crore for photo identity cards, electronic voting machines and setting up polling booths.