JALESHWOR, Sept 12: The fever of local elections has gripped all eight districts of Province 2 offering a festive mood to the locals. These days, political leaders and candidates have expedited their visits to their electoral constituencies and have intensified their meetings with the locals.
As observed by the voters, the election has been more of a feast nowadays. Every other party in the locality is conducting mass gatherings, lavish dinners and entertaining programs to lure voters. This to a large extent has heated up the election environment.
As the candidates are spending millions to woo the voters, this has not just increased the expenditure of the candidates but has also promoted a wrong tradition.
It has been a compulsion for every candidate to spend a large sum of money on feasts and gatherings.
Breaching the ceiling set by the Election Commission (EC), political parties and candidates are spending millions for poll campaigns. According to the candidates, the sense of competition and the fear of losing have compelled the candidates to spend more money. This has also set a mentality that a person with poor family background cannot be a candidate, lament some candidates.
Candidates don't just take financial responsibility of the programs they conduct but are also obliged to pay for the food, transportation, petrol and various other expenses of the cadres and those involved in the campaigns. Ashok Kumar Sah, the mayoral candidate for Jaleshwor Municipality from the Nepali Congress (NC) laments that high expenditures have posed serious problems to the candidates. He blames the open border with India for the influence in increasing the trend of spending money during elections.
Kaushalendra Sharma, the mayoral candidate of CPN (Maoist Centre), says the neighbors have a wide impact on Madhesi politics. "Here, politics is for money and money is for politics which is not good," he said.
According to mayoral candidate of the CPN-UML, no one would support candidates with their campaigns if they refused to take bear their expenses. "A lot of parties are competing with each other in terms of spending money but fortunately we are successful in keeping ourselves away from such competitions," he said.
Ram Shankar Mishra, the mayoral candidate for Jaleshwor Municipality from Rastriya Janata party Nepal (RJPN) says he has been feeding more than 200 people on a daily basis since his candidacy announcement. "If they were one or two may be it would have been easier for me to take them home for dinner but they are in hundreds but still I have no other option," he said. Few aspirants have also accused the party leaders for fixing candidates on the basis of money they possess and analyzing how much they can spend. They say politics is not for the poor.
When asked about the election preparation, Ram Lal Ray, a local of Jaleshwor 11, said, "No one is concerned about the development of the municipality and all they care about is the food and drinks for the night."