Congress Ran Out of Money, Votes in Maharashtra
Mumbai: It’s not just infighting withinthepartythathascosttheCongress dearinMaharashtramunicipalbody elections. Even a funds crunch has proved costly.
Congress candidates from across the state said they weren’t supported financially by the party this time, making it difficult for them to meet poll expenses.
“Yes,itisafactwehavenotbeenpaid any money during this election and this has been a factor as not every party candidate is rich; there are many who need our support and it played a part in our dismal performance,” said a senior leader.
Thepartyusuallysupportsitscandidate financially by releasing money from its funds. The amount depends on the category of the constituency and the background of the candidate. For instance, in an A category constituency where it has a high-profile nominee, the party gives ₹ 10 lakh. In ‘B’ category seats, it is ₹ 5 lakh, while in ‘C’,theamountcomesdownto ₹ 2lakh.
“Itmightnotseemahugeamountto many, but it comes in handy for many candidateswhodon’thavethemoney. We need to pay our volunteers for food, travel (and to) polling agents — all these cost money,” said a Congress candidate from Mumbai who lost in the recent election. “When you are fighting candidates who are spending crores, everypennycounts.”
A senior Congress leader said the state leadership expressed their inability to pay and asked the party’s district presidents to see that the candidates were paid in their constituencies.Butmostdistrictleaders did not pay, said candidates.
“On an individual level, many senior leaders paid a few candidates in constituencieswhereif thecandidate had lost, then their (the senior leaders’) own prestige was at stake,” said a state Congress leader.
Questions are being asked as to how the Congress is having a funds crunch just a little over two years after it lost power in the state . “We have been in power in the state for more than a decade and it’s just been slightly more than two years that we have been out of power. So it’s surprising how things have come to such a pass. Earlier, even zilla parishad candidates used to be paid lakhs by the party to contest,” said a leader.
In spite of repeated attempts, state Congress chief Ashok Chavan was not available to comment. Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupamconfirmedthepartydidnot assist its candidates financially this time. “Those seeking Congress ticketsweretoldthreemonthspriortothe polls that the party can’t help them financially due to a funds crunch,” he said. “We had 18 MPs, we had MLAs and we were in power. Now the situation is not the same.”
Earlier, even zilla parishad candidates used to be paid lakhs by the party to contest