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Horrible election expenditure

By Our Reporter
Elections in Nepal are getting costlier. The local polls held earlier in three phases and the ongoing polls to the House of Representatives and state assemblies are testimony to this. Many leaders, including CPN-Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal had raised questions about the high expenditure in the local polls. He even said that all elections be held under proportional representative (PR) electoral system to avoid the unnecessary expense.
In the local polls, candidates of ward chairmen had reportedly spend as much as Rs. 2.5 million while the mayoral candidates spent more than Rs. 10 million. A recent research by the Election Observation Committee (EOC) shows Rs. 69.42 billion was spent during the local elections. This amount is more than the construction cost of a big hydropower project like UpperTamakoshi.
Many NC leaders this time rejected to contest the polls under the First-Past-The-Post electoral system citing the increasing election costs. There were reports that Keshav Kumar Budathoki of Jhapa did not contest polls this time showing the high expenditure. Former speaker Daman Nath Dhungana also expressed his concerns about the increasing expenditure and said that costly elections would promote corruption as the leaders who win the elections try to make up the expenses through different illegal measures.
Although the Election Commission has fixed the election expense at RS 2.5 million, it will be insufficient to contest the polls. A candidate has to hire at least two motors, buy fuels for about two months, feed the cadres with occasional feasts in the evening. There will also be motorcyclists to ask the leaders for fuel. The increasing sales of fuel and liquor during the election time have shown that the candidates will be spending more in fuels for both their vehicles and activists. And one needs at least Rs 15 million to meet the election expenditure.
It is estimated that the election cost of all candidates will be over Rs 100 billion while the EC’s expenditure will be Rs 1 billion or more. The money blown in the elections will be enough to produce several thousand mw hydro power projects.
Moreover, the increasing election expenditure will result in capturing the national politics by the businessmen, contractors, and honest politicians will be out of the politics.

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