Indian poll body seizes record USD 556 million inducements ahead of general polls 

Lok Sabha Polls
Seizure of liquor in Kalaburagi District in south India’s Karnataka. Photo Courtesy: PIB

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday (April 15, 2024) announced it has seized record USD 556 million (Rs. 4650 crores) inducements ahead of the first phase of voting for the national polls.

“With General Elections 2024 underway, ECI is on track for the highest ever seizures of inducements recorded in the 75-year history of Lok Sabha elections in the country. Enforcement Agencies have made a record seizure of over USD 556 million (INR 4650 crores) in ECI’s resolute fight against money power even before the first phase of polling for the 18th Lok Sabha elections commences on Friday,” the ECI said in a statement.

The ECI said: “This marks a sharp increase over Rs 3475 crores seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019.”

The commission said 45 percent of the seizures are of drugs and narcotics.

“The seizures have been possible by comprehensive planning, scaled up collaboration and unified deterrence action from agencies, proactive citizen participation and optimal engagement of technology,” the ECI said.

ECI said, “Use of black money, over and above political financing and accurate disclosure thereof, may disturb the level playing field in favour of more resourceful party or candidate in specific geographies.”

The Indian election body said the seizures are a critical part of ECI resolve to conduct the Lok Sabha elections free of inducements and electoral malpractices and to ensure a level playing field.

India to vote in seven phases

India will vote in seven phases from April 19, to elect a new Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Indian Parliament).

The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

The election assumes significance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are trying to return to power for the third straight term, a rare incident in India’s political history.

In 2014, Modi led his saffron party to power by beating the Indian National Congress, a political outfit which sat in power for two straight terms under former PM Manmohan Singh.

Modi once again formed the government in 2019, marking his second straight term as the PM of the world’s most populated nation.