As campaigning intensifies in the run-up to the assembly elections in Maharashtra, candidates in Mumbai are facing a tough time trying to keep up with rising expenditure.
First-time candidates and those who filed their nominations at the last minute are facing a tough time.
“I did not anticipate such expenses,” said Waaris Pathan, a high-profile lawyer, who is the All Indian Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidate from the Byculla constituency.
Pramod Patil, who is contesting from the Wadala constituency on an NCP ticket, too, is unable to cope with rising costs of his campaign. “I had to pawn by wife’s jewellery to take a loan, but now even that seems inadequate,” he said.
For many others, the Election Commission’s Rs. 28-lakh limit for campaigning is unrealistic.
According to B Venkatesh Kumar, professor, Tata Institute of Social Science, this election is dominated by unaccounted expenses. “The limit for expenditure is unrealistic and the fight so intense, that candidates are sparing no efforts to win it.”
With a five-cornerned contest, and a large number of candidates in the fray, the demand for people at rallies has gone up, and they in turn have upped their daily allowance. The demand for young people is the highest and candidates are going all the way to woo them, in cash and kind.
“My rival is offering youngsters high amounts to woo at them. I am finding it difficult to deal with the expenses,” said Imtiyaz Anis, the MNS candidate from Mumbadevi.
Shalaka Salvi, the BJP candidate from Shivadi, who resides in a Lalbaug chawl, rued that her rivals — backed by the builders’ lobby — are on a spending spree. “Without monetary help from my party and colleagues, I would not have been in race,” she said.