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Elections become expensive in “Loktantra”

By Our Reporter
Contesting an election in Nepal has of late become an expensive venture.
When the political parties started selling election tickets to only reach leaders, mostly businessmen and contractors, contesting elections for the honest and non-corrupt leaders have been beyond their reach.
In the recently held local polls, mayoral candidates spent millions of rupees, even the candidates of ward chairman of municipalities and rural municipalities spend nearly four million rupees on average.
Considering the skyrocketed expenses, Maoist-Centre chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal recently floated the idea of electing the representatives to all levels through proportional representatives (PR) electoral system. Indeed, a leader who cannot afford to spend at least Rs 30 million can in no way win the parliamentary election.
Likewise, the Election Commission makes a huge expenditure to hold an election while the security organs also need to spend extra during elections. This means, billions of rupees get drained in an election.
The total expenditure made by the Election Commission and security organs to hold the elections and the candidates and big parties to contest the elections reach billions of rupees. When even in villages, a candidate contesting to the post of chairman of a rural municipality needs at least Rs. 1.5 million and many of the candidates of chairmen of rural municipalities were found spending as much as Rs 15 million in the latest local polls, one can easily guess how much money a candidate of a member of House Representatives or provincial assemblies need.
Now, local elections are going to be held in Province No 2, and the major complaints of the candidates have been the election expenditure. Elections in Province-2 have become so expensive that without pouring money one cannot think his victory.
Even leaders like Dahal and Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat of Nepali Congress have expressed their concern over the increasing election expenses.
A candidate has to spend more in meat and drinks as the voters tend to give vote to the candidates who buy meat and alcohol for them. Likewise, the cadres mobilised in the elections spend a lot of money in drinks.
Even the traders of the alcoholic beverages think election as an opportunity to make more money by selling more liquor.
“Our business in the eight districts of Province-2 has increased three times the normal time, and I will remain here till the day of Fulpati, a producer and distributor of alcoholic beverage told ‘The People’s Review’ in the condition of anonymity.
When contesting elections becomes beyond the reach of honest and poor leaders, only corrupt people will make to the parliament and local bodies. The leaders who get elected spending millions of rupees resort to different measures to make up the election expenditure, which will increase corruption activities.
Likewise, illegal money will be spent and smugglers, dons and contractors will invest on the leaders to get their works done. Even foreign powers can invest in elections so that their ‘agents’ reach the parliament and government.
Hence, elections are not likely to be good for a poor country like Nepal.

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