India’s general election wasn’t just the world’s biggest. It was also the most expensive, with political parties, candidates and regulatory bodies spending up to $8.6 billion, according to a new study. By comparison, the US spent an estimated $6.5 billion in the 2016 presidential and congressional contests. The Indian estimate, based on research by the Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies (CMS), takes into account spending on both the national and state levels contests this year -- and means that total spending for the 2019 elections that resulted in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning a second term was nearly twice as much as 2014, when Modi first won national office. The BJP alone is estimated to account for as much as 55% of the total amount spent on elections this year -- or more than $4.5 billion. Its main national challenger, the principle opposition Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, only managed about 15% to 20% of the total.