A SURVEY jointly conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Uttar Pradesh Election Watch claims that the Centre’s move to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes would not only make the UP elections next year costlier, several parties have also found new ways to invest black money in the polls.

The survey, which had studied the impact of note ban on poll expenses, said “note ban will have no impact in the campaigning or the poll expense”.

In the survey, 69 per cent of the prospective candidates and party office-bearers admitted that compared to previous polls, the cost of contesting elections would rise by at least 10 per cent due to demonetisation. Around 65 per cent of the perspective candidates said there would be no impact on the “mode and methods of luring voters” in the polls scheduled early next year while 70 per cent said they would follow the old ways to woo voters.

“The traders, who deal in poll materials, event managers, printers and travel agents have told the survey team that there would be problems in campaigning and 70 per cent of them admitted that their trade has been affected. On cashless system, 60 per cent of the traders admitted that it would have no adverse effect on their business,” ADR and UP Election Watch convenor Sanjay Singh said.

“It was found that the cost of contesting elections would escalate at least by 10 per cent when compared to earlier Assembly elections. We have also come to know that probable candidates are inclining more towards caste and religion this election by holding religious functions in their constituencies,” he added.

While releasing the report of the survey, Singh said that post demonetisation, a survey on its possible impact in the UP elections was conducted in 30 Assembly constituencies spread over 10 divisions — Jhansi, Banda, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Agra and Bareilly. The team also contacted prospective candidates, office-bearers of different parties and those who deal in poll materials.

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