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Of nautch girls, criminals & gifts

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 01:37 IST

NAUTCH GIRLS, orchestra, gifts, parties, video shows, criminals. Candidates are using all this and more to ensure their victory in the civic bodies poll.

Sample this: A candidate contesting for a corporator’s post invited residents of Hussainabad ward in the city to a dance show.

The programme, comprising nautch girls, continued till midnight. After the show was over, the corporator in perfect ‘neta’ style appeared on the dais and urged the people to cast votes in his favour.

In Ballia, candidates contesting for the post of chairman nagar palika parishad organised late night video shows for voters. It was real treat for the voters as food packets and countrymade liquor were also distributed to keep their spirit high.

“These are traditional method of campaigning,” says Mukesh who is contesting for corporator post. He adds,  “Civic poll requires close interaction with voters. Apart from entertainment, parties and orchestra shows give us the opportunity to interact with our voters, particularly the younger lot.”

With Diwali and Id falling in poll time, costly gifts too came in handy for the candidates. The gifts included mobile phone sets, plasma TV, camera, watches, and jewellery.

And in the hinterland, it’s the mafia and gun-totting criminals who are ruling the roost. In Rae Bareli, mafia don Akhilesh Singh has announced support to Raghvendra Singh. Supporters of Singh have threatened rival candidates with dire consequences.

The situation is no different in Gonda, Pratapgarh, Meerut, Mainpuri, Etah, Jalaun, Ghazipur districts. Several candidates have demanded security after being threatened in a similar fashion.

Then there are those (that includes the Congress, the SP and the BJP), who have launched high tech campaign for their mayoral candidates using the Internet, cable network and SMSes to catch voters’ fancy.

The State Election Commission has set an upper limit till which candidates can spend. Those contesting for mayors’ post could spend up to Rs 12,50,000, corporator Rs 1,00,000, chairman Nagar Palika Parishad Rs 4,00,000 and member Nagar Palika Parishad Rs 40,000.

Needless to say, with over a fortnight gone since the candidates launched their campaign, majority of them have crossed that upper limit.