BY FRANK FRANKLYN: In spite of all the big talk about transparency, digital payments and attacks on Black Money including the huge demonetization bid which has turned out to be nothing more than a huge fiasco, top sources in the BJP party in Mumbai have revealed that each candidate contesting the BMC Elections 2017 was given Rs 25 lakh approximately in unaccounted cash by the party to contest the municipal corporation polls in Mumbai. The candidate was expected to spend an additional Rs 20-25 lakh from his or her pocket for poll expenses. The Shiv Sena party has supported its candidates to a tune of Rs 10 to 15 lakh each.
It is a well-known fact that candidates have to pay the party leaders to get a ticket for any elections. In this case however, since the BJP-Shiv Sena split in Mumbai, the BJP leadership has left no stone upturned to make sure that the Shiv Sena is shown the door in the elections scheduled for tomorrow.
However, IndiaNewsWire.in has learnt that some party candidates instead of spending the money given by the party on election and promotion expenses, have pocketed more than half of the money contributed by the party and used it for their own private and personal expenses.
The AIMIM has instead asked its candidates to pay up or contribute Rs 15 to 30 lakh per candidate towards combined expenses in all the wards to fight the elections. We have learnt that MIM candidates were told in advance that they would only be given a ticket if they had the capacity to contribute about Rs 25 to Rs 50 lakh towards election expenses.
Commenting on this situation a senior social worker from Mumbai said, “The BJP including its supreme leader Narendra Modi makes only big talk about the fight on Black Money. In fact, the BJP party and its leaders are the only ones who have benefited from the de-demonetization drive as they had prior knowledge of the entire exercise. The BJP and Shiv Sena are both double faced parties. They project one image to the public and then do just the opposite, he said referring to the split in the two parties and their decision to fight the polls individually. Both parties will come together after the elections, he opined.
According to a report in the Indian Express, ahead of the BMC polls, the State Election Commission (SEC) revised candidates’ election expenditure limit for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and corporations of A class cities from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. As per reports the poll panel increased the spending limit of candidates for polls that involve 151 seats or more and fixed it at Rs 10 lakh. Besides the BMC, this would also include Pune civic body. Compare this with the unofficial expenses of the candidates which can go as high as Rs 2 to Rs 3 crore per candidate in some wards.
Meanwhile, civic bodies with 116 to 150 seats, such as Thane, Nagpur and Nashik, will have an expenditure limit of Rs 8 lakh. An expenditure cap of Rs 7 lakh for those municipal corporations who are with 86 to 115 seats and those having 85 or less seats will have an expenditure cap of Rs 5 lakh. Expense limit for zilla parishad (ZP) polls were revised by SEC to Rs 6 lakh for ZPs with 71 to 75 wards, Rs 5 lakh for ZPs with 61-70 wards and Rs 4 lakh for ZPs with 50-60 wards.