Despite forming a committee of secretaries and joint secretaries under the leadership of EC Secretary Begendra Sharma Paudel to monitor election expenditure, political parties continue to spend an excessive amount of money in elections campaigns.
Chief Elections Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav has already expressed worried over the recent election expenditure. “The Commission is worried about the money political parties and candidates were spending on election campaigns,” said Yadav.
“Political parties and candidates had changed their parties’ ‘manifestoes’ into ‘moneyfestoes’ by spending on campaigning way above the ceiling fixed by the poll panel,” said Chief Election Commissioner Yadav.
Former Chief Election Commissioner Nil Kanth Uprety also holds the similar views. “If the candidates are allowed to spend money like this, then rich people can control politics, increasing people’s disenchantment and frustration,” he added.
EC Commissioner Sudhir Kumar Shah said it was citizens’ right to know how much money candidates had spent on poll campaigning. He urged the businesspersons to make their donations to parties through banking channels to make them transparent.
Addressing an interaction with government officials and representatives of business communities at the Election Commission’s central office here today, CEC Yadav said regulating and controlling excessive spending of money in the elections had become a major headache for the poll panel.
Yadav said the poll panel had allowed candidates for parliamentary elections to spend up to Rs 2.5 million and candidates for provincial assembly elections to spend up to Rs 1.5 million but no candidate was adhering to the ceiling.
“We are worried about the poll expenditure,” said Yadav, adding that the EC had enforced several rules to provide equal opportunities to all candidates.
According to Yadav, some candidates had taken loan and others had sold properties to meet poll expenditure. He warned that the EC could send candidates to jail if it found anybody violating poll expenditure ceiling.
Stating that monitoring invisible expenditure during elections was a pressing issue, Yadav said the Department of Money Laundering Investigation, Inland Revenue Department, and Nepal Rastra Bank should also take an initiative to curb huge poll expenditure. He also directed other government agencies concerned to monitor poll code violation cases.
The EC has fixed the ceiling of poll expenditure and the number of vehicles a candidate can use in election campaigns to make elections free, fair and impartial.