In the context of military engagements, it’s said that God is on the side of the big battalions: the bigger your battalions, the more likely you are to win a battle.

In the context of the battles of the ballot box regularly fought in the arena of Indian democracy, big money, if not God, seems to be on the side of the BJP.

Along with muscle power, money power has long played a decisive role in Indian elections, and it appears that the power of money in deciding election results is on the increase.

A recent report released by the Association for Democratic Reform shows that in the course of the 2017 assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh the BJP spent six times more money than the Congress.

According to the financial statements of expenditure filed by both the parties with the Election Commission the BJP collected and spent Rs 251 crore and Rs 131 crore, respectively, in the Gujarat and Himachal polls, as compared with the Rs 71 crore and Rs 20 crore spent by the Congress.

These figures reflect the general perception that the business-friendly image of the BJP, as compared with the more centrist image of the Congress, makes the saffron party a more attractive investment for corporates.

In comparison, the Congress, the Grand Old Party of Indian politics, seems to be not only ideologically bankrupt, as it, critics claims, but also financially broke.

Could the BJP’s overwhelming superiority in money power over its arch-rival be attributed to a cause other than funding from big business?

Those who decry demonetisation claim that the real, secret reason behind the exercise – which took the whole country by surprise, including the RBI and the finance ministry itself— was that the inner caucus of the BJP had an advantage in ensuring that the banned Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes could be exchanged for legal tender in time for the Gujarat and Himachal elections.

On the other hand, the Congress and other parties were caught flatfooted and strapped for legal tender by the overnight currency ban.

The report of the Association for Democratic Reforms shows that the funding for the state units of the BJP in Gujarat and Himachal came from the central coffers of the party.

This seems to suggest that the topmost leadership of the lotus party was well prepared for the axe of demonetisation to fall and could take precautionary steps against it.

If this is indeed so, demonetisation has certainly been a spectacular political success for the BJP, even though it might have been a train wreck for the national economy.

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