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View from the left: Election expenses

“The volume of money and resources already spent are, indeed, humongous — a scale that independent India has never seen before.”

Published: April 9, 2014 12:47:09 am

Election expenses

Alleging the BJP and RSS are pumping in resources into the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections and for its prime ministerial candidate in an “unprecedented” manner, the CPM’s People’s Democracy says that “it is allegedly estimated that the recently enhanced Election Commission’s limit on expenditures per candidate per constituency of Rs 70 lakh has already been far exceeded (totalling all 543 constituencies) by the RSS/ BJP in projecting their PM aspirant alone.”

“The volume of money and resources already spent are, indeed, humongous — a scale that independent India has never seen before,” an editorial in the latest issue of People’s Democracy alleges. The editorial argues that there needs to be a fixed limit for a party’s campaign expenditure, apart from the existing limit on the candidate’s expenditure.

“As a result, political parties with access to lesser resources, though with greater support amongst the people, suffer due to the current rules governing the electoral process in our country. There are restrictions placed on wall writings, postering and other means of less expensive propaganda while the more expensive ones like media advertisements, paid news, paid opinion polls, hiring helicopters and private jets to ferry party leaders for campaign have virtually no restrictions imposed,” the editorial argues. It says the EC should suggest necessary changes in the law.

BJP manifesto

Questioning the delay in the release of the BJP manifesto, the CPI(ML)’s ML Update says that, on a close look, the manifesto reveals “some significant pointers to the BJP agenda under Modi”. “…the Manifesto belies all the claims by his apologists and newfound friends that Modi now stands for ‘development’ rather than the divisive RSS agenda,” it claims.

“On the substantive issues of economic policies and corporate plunder, the BJP’s plank is identical with that of the Congress,” the editorial states. ML Update says the most “disturbing part of the BJP’s poll agenda is the relentless communal hate-speech by its leaders”.

“The BJP’s myth of Modi ‘development’ magic in fact unravels in the face of the fact that both its manifesto and its leaders speeches are laced with communal venom,” the editorial concludes.

Political discourse

Claiming that the level of campaigning for this Lok Sabha election has touched its “lowest”, the CPI’s New Age says “personal abuse and even vulgarity are becoming hallmark of the speeches of leaders of the parties that claim to be contenders of power.”

The editorial says the big parties are not discussing the “real” socio-economic issues or other key matters like corruption. However, it says people have become “more conscious of their position” and this is reflected in regional TV channels. It says that in debates on these channels, people are focusing on the problems faced by them and “forcing the political leaders to respond”. “So-called national channels have no impact here and that gives assurance that the results may be quite different from what is being projected by the sponsored surveys and opinion polls,” it says.

“To have a programme-based, pro-people alternative government, the Left is bound to play a crucial role. This calls for a strong Left Block in the 16th Lok Sabha,” the editorial concludes.

Compiled by Ruhi Tewari

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