The bypolls to the 15 constituencies will cost the exchequer over 20 crore. This is apart from the expenses spent on revising and updating electoral rolls and related administrative costs, which will amount to nearly 10 crore more.
If put together, it takes 2 crore administrative cost to elect a legislator in the bypolls that have been necessitated due to resignations and disqualification of 17 MLAs. This is the estimation of the Election Commission based on the cost it incurred on the Assembly elections in 2018. The total cost incurred then (for all 224 constituencies) was 393.07 crore, amounting to 1.75 crore per constituency. A year before that, the EC incurred an expense of nearly 1.5 crore on the Gundlupet and Nanjangud bypolls.
In the 2013 Assembly elections, the expenditure was 286.59 crore at 1.27 crore per legislator. With inflation, the cost of poll machinery and infrastructure required to conduct polls saw a steep rise and the cost went up to 393.07 crore in the 2018 Assembly polls.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar told The Hindu that since the bypolls have come within months of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls (April-May 2019), expenses incurred on the revision and update of electoral rolls cannot be included in the overall cost of the bypolls. Electoral roll revision is a routine process and even without the bypolls, the expenses would have been the same. We may have to see this as a separate component, he said.
Pointing out that civil expenditure (to conduct voter awareness campaigns, remuneration of polling personnel and election observers) will be a major component, the CEO said this is expected as cost of poll-related consumables had steeply increased.
Another major component of the total cost is security arrangements. The EC has deployed 42,500 personnel for the bypolls, where 37,77,970 voters will exercise their franchise in 4,185 polling booths.
With 884 polling booths having being identified as critical booths, the EC has stepped up surveillance by deploying additional forces, especially in constituencies that are on the border areas of neighbouring States. At least seven of the 15 constituencies border the neighbouring States of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, and Tamil Nadu.