It’s time to ponder cut in poll expenditure

It’s time to ponder cut in poll expenditure

The way the political parties are conducting themselves leaves one perplexed. Does any party have a firm political ideology? Do they really believe...

The way the political parties are conducting themselves leaves one perplexed. Does any party have a firm political ideology? Do they really believe that “Dil Se they are the best among the crowd”?

Can any party ‘Dil Se’ claim that they have bid farewell to caste based politics and do not spend huge amounts to win elections? Tall or not can any leader honestly win elections with just Rs 13 or 14 lakhs? If tall leaders can do so then why not the lesser fry in their respective political parties win elections with lesser money. Where lies the fault? What is the truth?

Talk to any contestant whether it is in Andhra Pradesh or Telangana, his woes this time are more because the polls in these two states are not being held in the first phase. They would be held on May 13 which means they have to bear the poll expenditure, maintain the cadre and distribute freebies and money at some places and all this they say involve huge amount. Some rue that it costs huge money as they have to bear the food and other expenditure including liquor for the cadre, give them daily allowance, meet the expenditure of poll material like flags, campaign vehicles, road shows, public meetings etc and take care of their medical expenses in case of any issue.

This being the situation, it was really surprising to notice that the election expenditure of former chief minister and BRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao was just Rs 12.8 lakhs and that of the Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy was Rs 13.5 lakhs. The expenditure of KCRs son K T Rama Rao was Rs 33.6 lakhs, Bandi Sanjay Rs 22 lakhs.

Everyone knows that the assembly elections held in 2023 in Telangana was a high octane one and the stakes for both the BRS, Congress and BJP were high. But still the leaders want us to believe that the expenditure incurred on the meeting addressed by Prime Minister in Gajwel did not cost more than Rs 1.2 lakhs, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath’s public meeting had cost only Rs 2.6 lakhs and KCRs public meeting including his helicopter expense had cost only Rs 1.77 lakhs. These days even a birthday party of the influential section of the society costs at least 10 times more. What really surprises one is if PMs public meeting could be held for Rs 1.2 lakhs why did it cost Rs 4 lakhs for organising KTRs tour in Jubilee Hills constituency in Hydearabad.

Though out of power for a decade, Congress leaders had spent more money on public meetings. Komatireddy Venkatreddy spent Rs 7 lakhs (official claim). The public meeting was addressed by AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and others. The BRS MLA from Karimnagar spent Rs 4 lakhs again official figure, for public meeting addressed by KCR.

If tall leaders can hold their public meetings with Rs 1.7 lakhs or Rs 2.6 lakhs, why can’t this formula percolate down and set an example for the country in drastically reducing the election expenditure. Social activists and even the common man on the street refuses to believe such claims. It now remains to be seen if the Election Commission of India would accept the claims of these leaders or not. If public meetings can be organised for a little over Rs 1 lakh why do the political parties evolve different methods to transport cash. Every day we see the police seizing huge amount of cash purportedly being carried for election purposes. The general belief is that it costs at least over Rs 10 crore if not more for a candidate to contest. It is time all parties ponder over this. Even the Prime Minister who has taken a vow to end corruption should give a serious thought to it whether NDA gets 400 par or not.

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