Senior Telugu Desam Party leader and Lok Sabha member from Anantapur J C Diwakar Reddy, who calls spade a spade on any issue, might have admitted that he had spent Rs 50 crore for the victory of his son J C Pawan in the recent Lok Sabha elections in his constituency.
He put the average expenditure in each parliamentary constituency, irrespective of the political parties, at Rs 25 crore.
But not many candidates have the guts to disclose the money they have spent in the recent elections in Andhra Pradesh, which are considered to be the costliest elections ever held.
According to sources, the highest amount spent by any candidate in the recent assembly elections was that of Gottipati Ravi Kumar, TDP candidate from Addanki constituency in Prakasam district.
He is learnt to have spent nearly Rs 70 crore just in the MLA elections, while JC said he had spent Rs 50 crore in the entire Anantapur parliamentary constituency.
Though Nara Lokesh, TDP general secretary and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidus’ son, also reportedly spent huge amounts in his Mangalagiri constituency, it is no match to the poll expenditure in Addanki.
Lokesh is understood to have spent money not in the form of cash distribution, but in kind – gift hampers, vehicles and other material to the voters.
Even TDP candidate Ganta Srinivasa Rao also reportedly spent not less than Rs 60 crore on Visakhapatnam (north) constituency but he, too, spent most of the money in the form of kind, rather than cash distribution.
Interestingly, as J C Diwakar Reddy said, the voters had openly demanded money from candidates to cast their vote. Even the party workers demanded money from their party bosses, since they were aware it was a do-or-die battle for both the TDP and YSRC.
“Some party workers, who were given money, food and liquor for two consecutive weeks by one party, shifted to the rival party immediately, when the first party could not yield to their demands in the third week. Political has become a virtual business,” an analyst commented.