Expense meter starts ticking

Leaders expect expenditure to cross Rs 250 crore during GHMC polls.

Hyderabad: The GHMC polls are likely to see a whopping expenditure by candidates and parties. According to conservative estimates by both the ruling and Opposition parties, anything between Rs 250 crore and Rs 300 crore would be spent this time. The ‘cash meter’ began ticking the day nominations were filed and will gather pace till the polling date, in a leader’s parlance.

“To my knowledge, this GHMC polls will be the costliest till date. If a candidate had spent Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh in the last polls, it is sure to double or triple this time. A strong candidate of a major party may easily spend Rs 1 crore. Either candidate or party has to bear the expenditure,” a senior TRS legislator told this newspaper.

Asked what could be the likely total expenditure by candidates and parties in this election, he said, “It could be anywhere between Rs 250 crore to Rs 300 crore in the 150 divisions. We generally check the background and ensure only those capable of bearing the cost are selected.”

In view of the SEC capping the campaign expense limit to Rs 5 lakh per candidate, no leader is willing to go on record. However, Congress spokesperson G. Niranjan said that the expenditure would far exceed the SEC limit. “It’s a known fact. Whether it’s the GHMC, Assembly or Lok Sabha polls, elections have become a very costly affair. Only financially strong candidates or one fully backed by his party can contest. Even the best of candidates are forced to spend but no one wants to reveal the truth,” he said.

According to a TRS leader, bulk of the amount goes in distribution to voters, especially in slums and bastis, lump-sum payment of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh in cash to a prominent leader in the division who can influence and mobilise voters, party workers or hired workers during campaign besides vehicles, publicity material like posters, banners, flexis, cut-outs, ads etc.

“Even if we hire or utilise 100 party workers daily, we need to spend at least Rs 300 per head, which comes to Rs 30,000 per day. The meter has begun running for biryani, drinks, cars etc,” said a senior Congress leader from Secunderabad. He added, “We also spend considerable amount on the media. Not just for ads, but other purposes.”

( Source : deccan chronicle )
Next Story