The supposedly enlightened voters of Karnataka will troop to the polling booths on May 10, 16 and 22. An election after six months of President’s Rule is romantically painted as a triumph of the will of the people, and seen as just what the people want. But is it?
Have elections, despite, maybe because of, T.N. Seshan, become the greatest charade the political class play on the people? Is our elections the most illegal thing going? Is every result from every one of the 224 constituencies null and void before polling and counting take place?
In theory, a candidate is not free to spend as much as he likes on his election. The law prescribes that the total election expenditure shall not exceed the maximum limit prescribed under Rule 90 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, which in Karnataka’s case is Rs 10 lakh per candidate. It would also amount to a corrupt practice under sec 123 (6) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
In theory, under section 77 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, every candidate is required to keep “a separate and correct account of all expenditure” from the date of nomination to the date of declaration of result, and lodge a true copy of the said account within 30 days of the result.
In practice, writes R.T. VITTALA MURTHY in Andolana:
“The Election Commission’s limit of Rs 10 lakh per assembly constituency is laughable.
“In just the BTM layout constituency in Bangalore, the Congress and BJP candidates are all set to spend over Rs 30 crore in the coming elections. In Padmanabhanagar, one candidate had a procession with over 500 cars and jeeps.
“The situation is the same in Bommanahalli, Yelahanka, Byatarayanapura, Jayanagar, Hebbal.
“By one estimate, in the coming Assembly elections, for the 28 constituencies in Bangalore, a minimum of Rs 500 crore will be spent.
“It is no secret that those who can afford such expenses is the land mafia. In districts like Tumkur, Chitradurga, Bellary, Koppal, Gadag, Raichur, it is the mining mafia.
“Result: 80 per cent of the candidates lie while presenting in their expense account to the EC. If our representatives lie even before they set foot in the Assembly, can they be honestly expected to safeguard the State’s interests?”
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