MYAGDI, May 11: Breaching the election code of conduct, candidates for the post of ward chief in Myagdi district are spending millions of rupees to attract voters during their promotional campaigns.
The Election Commission (EC) has set the limit of Rs 200,000 for promotional campaigns for a candidate contesting for the post.
The candidates have been compelled to provide transportation facilities and two times meal to hundreds of youths as well as party cadres participating in poll campaigns on a daily basis. Besides that, they are spending a lot of money promotional tools and equipment, flags, T-shirts, and many other things. With the hope of getting more votes, the candidates have also decided to bear the travel expenses of the voters.
Political parties like CPN-UML, Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Maoist Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have been conducting various promotional events on a daily basis. They are also making door-to-door visits to woo the voters. Some of the candidates have even taken loan from their relatives to meet the election expenses.
“We had planned to spend about two to three lakhs but we were obliged to increase the expenses as our opponents spent more than us,” said a ward chief candidate seeking anonymity. He admitted that it is unethical to spend such a large amount of money, as per the election code of conduct, for the promotions but many political parties as well as candidates are unaware about this law.
Though the candidates for all the major as well as minor posts are found spending money for promotions, the expenses of the candidates for the post of ward chief is comparatively very high.
Locals speculate that some of the candidates could be debt-ridden after the elections if they don't win.
As the well-off candidates spend a lot in publicity campaigns, candidates with not so good financial condition are also obliged to take loans due to the fear of being defeated. “It seems like the candidates who are financially sound can persuade more number of voters,” said Dil Bahadur Kisan, district leader of CPN (Maoist Center) in Mangala Rural Municipality, Kunhu.
According to him, genuine cadres who have contributed a lot in politics for years are likely to be displaced by the wealthy candidates who have got nothing to do with politics. Some of the candidates lament that the wealthy candidates are successfully grabbing the attention of the poor and the marginalized communities by assuring financial support.
According to Kedarnath Poudel, chief election officer of Myagdi, candidates for the post of ward chief can spend only Rs 200,000 for the promotional events. He urged the candidates not to spend large amount of money due to excitement. “It will be better if they concentrate on winning the hearts of the voters through their work rather than tempting them through money,” said Poudel.
The EC has warned the political parties to follow the election code of conduct during poll campaigns.