May 24, 2022, Tuesday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Mind the expenditure-ceiling!


The Nepal Weekly
April 5, 2022

The issue of expenditure-limit for polls is very serious and candidates should not push the electoral practice into a circus of displaying power of money. Voters should also not be carried away by those who could show off money. They should go for political approach, trust, programmes, and the ability of candidates to tackle public problems. The right to vote and the value of elections in a democracy are highly sacred and they should be duly respected by all stakeholders. As the local elections come closer the issue attracts the attention of many. The Election Commission has, like in the past, worked out the ceiling of poll-expenditure for candidates and political parties and all should abide by the same. Disrespect for that ceiling would not be acceptable. Although history indicates the trend of ignoring the ceiling of expenses for one excuse or the other including gaining competitive advantage, the tendency should be checked by the EC through proper scrutiny and through mechanism of making political parties convinced about earning people’s trust through programmes, policies and ability to respond to problems. All concerned should take care in valuing voters’ choice and allowing them to participate freely and without fear in the great democratic exercise. While candidates are free to approach the voters in the way they find convenient, attempting to influence the voters through show of money-power is not a good idea. If money is allowed to impress voters, it would pollute the atmosphere and the purpose of voting could be lost. Moreover, hardworking and sincere politician could not offer candidature if money is allowed to be determinant of polls. Their exclusion could have serious political consequences. Senior leaders of political parties and candidates themselves should first be committed to respect for the expenditure-limit in elections. Disciplining themselves to remain well within the given expenditure-limit would benefit all and initiate a tendency of having democratic exercise in a quality manner. Both people and politicians would gain substantially through this. Spoilers of society would not have an opportunity to grab power through money. The same could lead to less corruption, less abuse of authority and less misuse of resources in society. Candidates who win the polls would also not be under pressure to get the return from their expenditure at polls. This would offer them time and space to devote to the public service for which they are elected by people.