Elections in India can be a murky affair, awash with illicit cash, drugs, and alcohol offered by political parties to woo voters. This year’s parliamentary elections are no different.
Ahead of the second round of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls on April 18, seizures of cash, liquor, and precious metals like gold and silver have already crossed Rs2,600 crore ($374 million) in value—double the amount in all the nine phases of 2014 general election. This is based on the election commission of India’s data for goods seized from March 10, when the modal code of conduct kicked in, till yesterday (April 17).
There are five more phases of polling to go before the votes are counted on May 23.
Overall, Gujarat (Rs543.84 crore), Tamil Nadu (Rs514.57 crore), and Andhra Pradesh (Rs216.34 crore) saw the largest total value of goods seized.
While cash and alcohol are small fish, narcotics are the big catch. Nearly 52,000 kilograms of drugs, worth Rs1,000 crore, have been seized so far, according to data shared by the poll panel.
Gujarat topped the chart with drugs worth at Rs524 crore being seized there. Nine Iranians were arrested off the western Indian state’s coast in March for smuggling in around 100 kgs of drugs (Rs500 crore) from Pakistan.
The north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was the worst when it came to the liquor seized.
The maximum amount of cash was seized in Tamil Nadu. The south Indian state also topped the list for precious metals captured during elections, valued at over Rs294 crore.