The political drama in Madhya Pradesh is just over, at least for the time being. But similar political theatrics can rear its ugly head any time anywhere else in the country.
It can happen, whether we are in the second or third stage of Corona infection. Horse trade will happen even if thousands die all around us. Because, business of politics is the only sector that can survive the corona scare or get stronger even during worst recessions.
There is no doubt that corona will have a sweeping impact on all sectors across the countries, just like its death trail that obliterated the geographic boundaries, line of controls, religious walls, business borders.
Also, we cannot expect self-quarantine (refrain from blame games) or social distancing (politiking and abusive politics) from our leaders who are out and out for just power which cures them from all viral infections.
A FICCI report says that 53% of businesses have been affected already in India and there is 80% of reduction in cash flow. Service sectors like tourism, hospitality and even the manufacturing segments will bear the brunt badly. The rating agencies have brought down the growth forecasts.
The trade impact of the coronavirus epidemic for India is estimated to be about 348 million dollars and the country figures among the top 15 economies most affected as slowdown of manufacturing in China disrupts world trade, according to a UN report.
Money may be scarce just like in the post-demonitisation era. But that does not mean, the political parties will run out of it and it will shelve all their plans for extravagant roadshows, travels, chartered flights, resort politics and construction of offices and more importantly the horse-trading. We will even hear about Rs 500-crore wedding wastes by the leaders.
We know much money would have passed the hands during the recent Madhya Pradesh power crisis, just like what happened sometime back in Karnataka. Even at conservative estimates, each party spent around Rs 50 lakh on hotels and flights over the past few days during the crisis. It is also said over Rs 100 crore is needed to buy an MLA. Some parties will launch special collection drives (bucket collections), if they are short of funds.
Recessions never hit the business of politics. Political parties and candidates spent nearly Rs60,000 crore (around $8.65 billion) in India’s recently-concluded general election, making it twice as expensive as the one in 2014, according to a recent report by the Delhi-based think tank Centre for Media Studies (CMS).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the biggest spender, accounting for 45-50% of the overall expenditure, compared to that of Indian National Congress which spent 15-20%.
A recent report said national parties collected Rs 11,234 crore in donation from unknown sources from 2004-05 to 2018-19. The BJP has shown the highest income amongst the political parties at Rs 2,410.08 crore during financial year 2018-19, which forms 65.16 per cent of the total income of six national parties put together.
According to analysis of income and expenditure of national political parties for FY 2018-19 by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), BJP declared a total income of Rs 2,410.08 crore but spent only 41.71 per cent (Rs 1,005.33 crore) of the total income.