Campaign costs ‘hefty’ in BirgunjCampaigning for the upcoming phase of local level elections in the Birgunj Metropolitan City has been a costly affair with mayoral candidates spending huge amounts of money to woo voters.
Campaigning for the upcoming phase of local level elections in the Birgunj Metropolitan City has been a costly affair with mayoral candidates spending huge amounts of money to woo voters.
One of the party candidates has been running a mess at his house for the past two weeks. On a daily basis, this candidate buys 100kg chicken from a meat shop in Murli Chowk, Birgunj. In the evening, he serves meals to youths campaigning for his party.
“The winning candidate is going to spend at least Rs50 million in the metropolis for the campaign,” said an analyst who closely observes the campaigns.
One of the new party entrants who is a candidate in Birgunj said on condition of anonymity that he has set aside Rs40 million for the election. “I’m ready to spend even more if the election environment becomes favourable,” he said. This candidate plans to spend Rs1 million in each of the 32 wards of the metropolis and the remaining cash on other activities. He said confidently that he would buy votes literally if the competition remains stiff until the last moment. Sources said well-off candidates spent Rs300,000 to 700,000 on the nomination day on Wednesday. Some political parties also gift motorcycles to their supporters, and mobiles, cameras and laptops to media persons during elections.
Rakesh Singh, a local leader of the Nepali Congress, said voters are also equally responsible for driving up election costs. “People are only focused on personal gains, not development,” he said.
Prof Hareram Thakur of Thakur Ram Multiple Campus agrees that politics is a dirty game. “The candidates are spending a lot of money. We become stupid if we vote for them,” he said, warning people that leaders who spend huge sums of money on campaigns will not develop the city.
The Election Commission permits candidates for the chief or deputy chief to spend up to Rs700,000 in the metropolis, Rs500,000 in a sub-metropolis, Rs400,000 in municipal councils and Rs300,000 in village councils. For those running for ward chair or a ward member, the expenditure limit is Rs250,000, Rs200,000, Rs150,000 and Rs100,000 for the respective councils.
Feast for cadres, supporters
SARLAHI: Candidates from various political parties have flouted the election code of conduct from the very day of nomination. Major candidates are organising feasts to attract voters for the polls scheduled for September 18. CPN-UML mayoral candidate for Brindaban Municipality in Rautahat gave a party at Harsaha Chowk to people who gathered for a rally during his nomination on Wednesday. The supporters were served fish curry and rice. Villagers said that the Nepali Congress mayoral candidate also organised a similar feast on Wednesday.
According to locals, such parties last until the polling day. All the parties resort to feasts to retain their supporters, said Yogendra Ram, 58, of Haripur-4 in Sarlahi. “Candidates offer rice, meat, beaten rice and vegetables as their purse allows.” The election code prohibits feasts to lure voters.