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The Frontier Manipur
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“Instances of ministers/politicians ruing over poll expenditure amounting to crores of rupees during elections have kicked off controversies. But their expenditure statements show that they have all spent less than the upper limit of 28 lakhs. YCM wishes to leave it to the public at large to reflect on the gap between the realities on the ground and the sheer hypocrisy of the system,” says Thongam Zingo, coordinator for People’s Election Monitoring, YCM

By Donny Keisham for TFM

In a sharp contrast to the popular perception of astronomical rise in election expenditure, the candidates’ election expenditure affidavits of the 2022 Manipur Legislative Election analyzed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows a totally different picture.

The ‘Manipur Election 2022: Analysis of Election Expenditure Statement of MLAs’, a report was released on Monday by Youth Collective Manipur (YCM) and ADR simultaneously in Imphal and Delhi respectively.

At a press conference held at the Conference Hall, Human Rights Alert, Kwakeithel, Imphal on Monday, Youth Collective Manipur (YCM) advisor and director of Human Rights Alert who is also State Coordinator of Manipur Election Watch alleged that the “disclosed election expenditure figures of the candidates” was a case of “utter misrepresentation and outright lies”.

”It is interesting to note that the lowest expenditure stated to have been incurred by Dr Yumnam Radleshyam Singh, MLA, is just Rs 3,94,642/- and the highest expenditure stated to have been incurred by Sorokhaibam Rajen Singh, MLA, is Rs. 22,14,206/-. All the other MLAs’ expenditure is in between these figures”, said Babloo. If these figures were correct, every Tom, Dick and Harry could win an election in Manipur”, Babloo further observed based on the analysis by ADR.

Even though the maximum amount that a candidate can spend during the election is 28 lakhs the average expenditure stated to have been spend by the winning candidates of various parties are as follows:

Sl. No.Political PartyAmount Spent (in rupees)
1Indian National Congress15.81 lakhs
2Bharatya Janata Party14.57 lakhs
3Kuki People’s Alliance13.23 lakhs
4Janata Dal (United)12.95 lakhs
5Naga People’s Front10.77 lakhs
6National People Party8.18 lakhs
7Independent7.26 lakhs

Thongam Zingo, coordinator for People’s Election Monitoring, YCM who had been spearheading the movement for electoral reforms in Manipur since August 2021 lamented “the worrisome duality of the ground situation and the systemic electoral narratives in Manipur”. Zingo further pointed out that according to Section 78 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, every contesting candidate has to lodge a true copy of his election expenses within 30 days from the date of declaration of result of election, with the District Election Officer. This leaves 15 days for any common citizen to file an election petition against any winner. The deadline for filing an election petition should be increased in order to give the citizens time to scrutinize the election expenditure statements of the MLAs and gather the relevant documents/proofs etc. for the election petition, he observed.

“Instances of ministers/politicians ruing over poll expenditure amounting to crores of rupees during elections have kicked off controversies. But their expenditure statements show that they have all spent less than the upper limit of 28 lakhs. YCM wishes to leave it to the public at large to reflect on the gap between the realities on the ground and the sheer hypocrisy of the system.” Zingo concluded.

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