With the final race to win the Mumbai civic corporation elections 2012 drawing closer, concerns are being raised over money exchanging hands.
According to political insiders, around Rs 700 to Rs 750 crore is likely to be spent in the run-up to the election on February 16.
This amount can help put into place nine pumping stations at the cost of Rs 80 crore each to flush out floodwater or three underground water tunnels of 6km each to improve water supply in Mumbai.
Candidates fighting on a political party ticket, said sources, need to have Rs 20 to Rs 25 lakh to win an election. This money is spent towards campaigns, rallies, compensating workers, star campaigners, and pay-offs. This amount is above the Rs5-lakh cap set by the state election commission for each candidate.
According to rough estimates by political parties, on an average, candidates will spend Rs 2-3 crore in each of the 227 ward. In addition, parties will spend crores on advertisement campaigns and campaign material. Most of these funds come from corporate houses in the form of official or unofficial donations.
Neela Satyanarayan, state election commissioner, said though they were aware of such cash swindling, the commission had its limitations in handling the situation.
Calling it a vicious nexus, political analyst Surendra Jondhale said, “If a person is pumping in so much money, he is going to try to extract it when in governance. This explains why we see corruption in allotting tenders, and why we entertain blacklisted contractors.”