K.N. Venkatasubba Rao

Assembly poll code of conduct applicable to parishat

Those contesting for the president’s post have to cover 62,000 voters

The cost of printing and postage have pushed up the expenditure

BANGALORE: While contesting the prestigious Kannada Sahitya Parishat elections has become a costly affair for the aspirants in terms of expenses, the question of restricting the poll expenditure for those contesting in the August 24 elections has become a tricky affair for those concerned.

The parishat elections are to be held for the prestigious post of one president to the Central Sahitya Parishat, 29 district presidents and one each from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Generally, the expenditure incurred by the contestants of the district president posts and other four such posts beyond the borders does not exceed Rs. 20,000 as their campaigning activities are confined to small areas covering a limited number of voters.

On the contrary, the contestants for the key post have to reach over 62,000 eligible voters spread across the State and beyond the borders as the president is directly elected by the voters.

The traditional campaigning, which is generally through personal request letters and personal visits, has been moderate in the previous years or the expenses incurred by the high profile candidates has not drawn the attention of the authorities concerned. But the escalated cost of postage, printing and transport has put the aspirants and the authorities in a spot as the election code of conduct stipulated for the Assembly elections will hold good for the parishat’s elections.

A printed post card costs Rs. 6, an envelope Rs. 5 and an inland letter Rs. 2.50. Besides printing a minimum of three or four lines on the card or a leaf of paper or on the inland letter will cost a minimum of 50 paise each. This would mean that if a candidate chooses to reach all the 62,000 plus voters through postcard, he has to spend Rs. 3.32 lakh, if he opts for envelope, it would be Rs. 3.10 lakh and Rs. 1.05 lakh if he chooses the inland letter. But as campaigning to the culturally and politically sensitive post does not rest at mere postal communication and a personal visit to vital districts becomes a dire need in the given cultural scenario, which is not devoid of parochial considerations, the overall expenditure is likely to reach a minimum of Rs. 5 lakh, a half way mark of the restricted expenditure of a candidate contesting for the Assembly elections.

Interestingly, the Government is holding the elections to the parishat spending an estimated Rs. 15 lakh to Rs. 18 lakh. The notification for the election has been issued here on Friday.