With elections round the corner, Election Commission’s (EC) decision to cap candidate’s expenditure to Rs16 lakh is becoming a matter of great concern for the politicians.
Most political leaders opine that several provisions are impractical, but if the EC has arrived at a decision, it should be strongly implemented. “In any rally, the vehicle brought by the supporters, irrespective of candidates’ knowledge, will also be included in the expenses on election campaign borne by the candidates, which is quite impractical,” said Pratap Singh Khachariawas, Congress legislator.
A candidate uses own vehicle, which should be included in his expenses, but in canvassing and rallies, will his supporters follow him like pedestrians, he asked.
If the EC is implementing such a provision, it should be strongly implemented and instead of taking action later, which hardly happens, the commission should disqualify candidate the moment expenditure crosses the Rs16 lakh-limit, felt Khachariawas.
BJP legislator Ghanshyam Tiwari seconds him, saying, “It’s a reformatory measure, but its objective will only be achieved when all such provisions are implemented strictly in all the 200 constituencies,” said Tiwari.
Such provisions are giving sleepless night to candidates, but political parties, too, have their ways to evade the restrictions.
For most political parties, a list of star campaigners has become a major tool to overcome such restrictions. “All expenses of the star campaigners are exempted by the EC. Political parties submit a list of 40 star campaigners, each from state and Centre level, much before the elections. Now, the EC has capped the election expenses of the candidates, political parties will manipulate the star campaigners’ lists as per their convenience,” said a senior BJP leader.
It may not come as a surprise if a prominent leader is dropped from the list, as the focus of all the parties will be on reducing the pressure on candidates as much as possible, he added.