City units of almost all major political parties decide to collect between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000 under heads ranging from registration fees to exam reference book charges from aspiring candidates
THE city units of almost all major political parties are generating funds by asking aspiring candidates to cough up large amounts by way of registration fees or other charges for the upcoming civic elections. Hopeful of getting tickets from their respective parties, these aspirants are paying amounts ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000 to political parities as registration fees or similar charges.
Ticket rush: Aspiring civic poll candidates at the MNS office in
Narayan Peth a few days ago. The hopefuls were registering
themselves for an eligibility test to be conducted by the party.
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded Rs 3,000 from interested candidates while the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has taken Rs 1,000 for a reference book for aspiring candidates, who have been told to clear a written exam on legislative and civic procedures before they getting a ticket. The NCP has asked for Rs 2,000, while the Shiv Sena plans to take about Rs 1,000 from each candidate towards party expenditure.
Black to white?
Political experts say that demanding money in this manner may be nothing but a way of converting any black money that parties have into white. "Its true to some extent that political parties have huge expenditures, but all expenditures are not done by the party and candidates also have to spend a lot of money on elections.
Demanding such enormous amounts from candidates at a stage where they have just expressed a willingness to fight the election and have not yet been selected by the party may be nothing but an attempt to convert black money of the party into white through the bank accounts which are maintained by political parties," said Dr. Nitin Birmal, professor of political science from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar College, Yerawada.
IT professional Niranjan Phadke, who wants to fight his first ever election from Panel Number 68 (Sahakar Nagar) on a BJP ticket, said, "Although it's quite justifiable that political parties have many expenditures during elections, still it should not be mandatory for each aspiring candidate to pay a fixed amount of money which the party has decided upon. Political parties should also give concessions in registrations fees to the candidates who hail from the economically backward class."
Also, the Mahayuti (BJP, Shiv Sena and Republican Party of India) also has not yet decided on a seat-sharing formula, which means a candidate who wants to contest the election from a particular ward and is from one of these three parties will waste the registration fee paid to the party if it is decided it will not be contesting from that ward.
An aspiring NCP candidate from Koregaon Park ward, Yogesh Pingle, said, "The amount that the party has demanded from aspiring candidates is not huge and can be easily paid by any candidate, even if his financial condition is not sound. I don't have any problems paying the money to the party if it generates funds for the party," Pingle said.
Parties justify move
Almost all party leaders in the city are united in justifying the taking of money from people aspiring for a ticket.
"Even for municipal elections, the party has to spend a lot on campaigning, public rallies and banners, so there is nothing immoral in recovering such expenditure from the aspirants," NCP city chief Vandana Chavan said.
BJP MLA Girish Bapat said the party kept everything above board when it came to money matters and aspiring candidates should not mind spending a little bit towards registration fees when they were ready for large election-related expenditures ahead.
"Candidates are ready to spend lakhs on fighting elections, so can't they take this small responsibility towards the party's expenditure?" Bapat said. "Whatever money is taken from these people by way of a registration fee is deposited in the bank account that is maintained by the party meticulously and the money is used for the party."
MNS state general secretary Anil Shidore said that the party had not asked for any registration fees but taken Rs 1,000 for the reference book which candidates can use in preparing for the written exam that is to take place on December 4.
BJP Rs 3,000
NCP Rs 2,000
Sena Rs 1,000
MNS Rs 1,000
(The MNS charges are for a reference book to prepare for an eligibility exam)
Forms distributed by parties so far
>> The MNS has distributed 1,000 forms to aspiring candidates, but only 700 willing candidates have paid the charges for the reference book which will be useful while preparing for the written exam to be conducted by the party on December 4.
>> In the BJP, so far nearly 250 aspiring candidates have taken a form and paid the Rs 3,000 fee.
>> The Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena have not yet started distributing their forms. So far, the NCP and the Shiv Sena have only decided on the amount to be collected as form fees
(Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000, respectively).