Mumbai’s changing campaign colours

Call for realistic election expenditure as voting for India’s richest civic body takes place on Tuesday.

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | February 20, 2017 | Mumbai


#expenditure   #civic election   #Mumbai   #election commission  


Demonetisation was a factor as candidates in the fray for the Mumbai civic polls wooed people. Though the election commission doubled the expenditure limits from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, some candidates found the going hard as there was a weekly withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000.

Rs 10 lakh is way above the actual required election expenditure, says former citizen candidate for BMC, Adolph D Souza. “When I stood… it came from the people or better called crowd funding for which receipts were also issued.” 
 
He says that major poll  expenses  go towards  printing and paying the ‘karyakartas’ (party workers). 
 
Recalling her own election campaign 20 years back, former Mumbai mayor, Nirmala Sawant Prabhavalkar says she could complete the entire campaign  between Rs 38,000 to 40,000. 
 
“At that time the guidelines of election code of conduct did not apply to us. The party had only provided us with funds of Rs 10,000 with two installment of Rs 5,000 each. The second installment was to constitute the election campaign machinery like photo copies of papers, distribution of voters list, sending ballot cards to voters, booth material and supplies and  some expenses for the candidate. Banners were not much in use and cotton banners printed on both sides were used. Only 20 banners were put up in the entire area.  Expenses were less and even this amount was sufficient for me.”
 
She however feels that the  cash withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000  from banks  has definitely led to a subdued campaign  as a  candidate has to meet expenses. 
 
A BSES official on electoral duty on condition of anonymity said that due to cap in  cash limit withdrawal of Rs 24,000 per week from banks, candidates took  loans for poll campaigns. For instance, expenses incurred on tea and snacks, cheque payments are not possible. Those candidates from big parties take credit and make payments later. It is the smaller parties  and independent candidates who found it difficult. 
BMC has published a rate list of propaganda material  from a pin to  banners to sound systems  and money  required to pay BMC rents and  permissions  for  holding rallies as well as conducting meetings and putting up banners. 
 
Political analyst Prakash Bal Joshi too says that due to demonetization money has gone back to the banks and for that reason very few candidates have hard cash on hand so they have been finding ways to deal with that. 
 
However state election commissioner, J S Saharia, says, “Nothing has come to my notice on difficulties due to demonetization. The RBI tells me there is no problem as far as current account is concerned and has allowed transactions through cheque.  I have no mechanism to check if there are difficulties on that front.”
 
 Neela Satyanarayan, former first woman election commissioner of Maharashtra, came down heavily on political parties putting up hoardings and banners  across city despite court order. She says, “Despite court order on hoardings, you see them all over the city. No one follows court orders.” Joshi adds that though noise rules contributed to a subdued campaign in some parts of the city, but in slums vehicles with loudspeakers  and banners  were used for campaigning.
 
Adds D Souza,“Anyone who knows a little bit about politics knows demonetization is a humbug. To avoid disqualification, there is under reporting of election expenditure.  The corrupt will find means and ways of spending more than what is allowed by election commission.”
He says, “I have been told that candidates have paid as much as Rs 50 lakh to get ticket from a party.  We had said that anyone who has been charge sheeted should not  be  allowed to stand for elections. Is  any party agreeing to this minimum requirement ? Nobody is. That shows where the will is .They may say demonetization was reigned in because of corruption. Are they serious about corruption?  And that is why the idea of citizen’s candidate - of the people, by the people, for the people came about.”
 
Prabhavalkar says, “Elections have become commercial. There are no takers for poor candidates and rich candidates come with inflated prices. Elections are a market place with manipulations.”
 
“Despite the usual colour missing in campaigning this time, it is good in a sense. There are good candidates who can be elected without spending much.”
 

Comments

 

Other News

Reality As It Is: The Buddha`s advice on overcoming bias, prejudices

‘See Things As They Are’: Life Lessons from the Buddha Edited by Nanditha Krishna Aleph, 98 pages, Rs 399 There is a wonderful idea behin

World growth expected to face inflation pressures

World GDP forecasts for 2023 have been revised down again as central banks intensify their fight against inflation and the outlook for China’s property market deteriorates, says Fitch Ratings in its latest Global Economic Outlook (GEO) report. Fitch now expects world GDP to grow by 1.4

200+ bird species documented in Chhattisgarh’s first-ever survey

Nine species of owls (including the magnificent spot-bellied eagle-owl), 10 birds of prey, 11 species of Woodpeckers (including white-bellied woodpecker – the largest woodpecker in peninsular India), and many other species have been documented during a first-ever bird survey in Chhattisgarh.

Cyclists plan ‘memorial ride’ to press demand for infrastructure

Cycling is a passion for many, and it is a way to fitness too. With rising numbers of vehicles on the road, the government encourages this environment-friendly mode of transportation, but it comes with numerous challenges. An accident last month on the Mahipalpur flyover of south Delhi, which took the life

“World headed towards stagflation; India must take care of the poor”

As the post-pandemic fallout and geopolitical uncertainty slows down global economies and sanctions against some nations, energy crisis and inflation are adding to the troubles, India is projected to be decoupled from world economy and fare better. To check if this belief really holds water, in the latest

The changing nature of CSR in India

With the advent of globalization came a new set of challenges for corporations, notably the duty of ensuring the well-being of all stakeholders while also protecting the planet`s natural environment. Although we are dedicated to a faster and more inclusive rate of growth, it is equally imperative that we f

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter