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Lack of financial resource deters ticket aspirants in major parties
The Parliamentary election is fast approaching, but there is an apprehension among cadre in both the DMK and AIADMK in seeking tickets.
According to sources, there are two strong reasons behind their hesitation, namely the lack of financial resources required to fight the hustings and absence of strong political leaders like Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa who could sway the masses through their campaign.
“In both the parties, only the relatives of prominent politicians are keen in the elections. Several old timers have refrained from seeking party tickets. I have been paying nomination fees to the party seeking ticket since the 1980s, but this time I have refrained fearing the election expenditure, which runs into several crores,” said Poonga Nagar Selvam, an AIADMK functionary.
He fears that first-timers would struggle to get a ticket. “During the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Jayalalithaa gave the party ticket to a novice S R Vijayakumar (Chennai Central). She also campaigned for him as he was pitted against the DMK heavyweight Dayanidhi Maran. Promotion of grassroot party workers is no longer done,” explains Selvam.
This situation prevails in other parties as well. “The party leadership wanted me to contest from a constituency in Chennai. I can mobilise funds up to Rs 2 crore, but even this is not sufficient as I have to cover 4-5 Assembly segments,” rued a senior AMMK functionary, adding that he has given up on contesting the elections, instead volunteering to campaign for the chosen candidate.
A DMK legislator said a candidate requires upto Rs 20 crore to put up a strong fight and influence voters. “Even in our party, the district secretaries favour the re-election of heavyweights like A Raja, T R Baalu and Dayanidhi Maran as they have deep pockets,” he quipped.
While the lack of financial resource may be deterrent for aspirants, election rules state that candidates contesting the LS polls must spend less than Rs 70 lakh.
According to a public election department official, the expenditure of the candidate should not exceed the prescribed limit under the Public Representation Act. If it is found that the candidate had spent more than the prescribed limit, he/she can be disqualified, the official explained.