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196 candidates spent Rs 1,061 crore in last Nagaland Assembly poll

By Bhadra Gogoi

DIMAPUR, Dec 20 - Altogether 196 candidates who contested the Assembly elections in February this year to the 60-member Nagaland House spent a whopping Rs 1,061 crore (approx) with the average of over Rs 5 crore each, a post-election watch report released by an NGO revealed.

The Election Commission of India had fixed the expenditure limit of each candidate at Rs 20 lakh.

The YouthNet report on Monday said the highest average spent per household was Rs 75,000 while the overall average cost per vote was Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. The election was held on February 27 this year.

The highest-spending candidate was from Zunheboto district with around Rs 30 crore followed by a candidate from Mokokchung district with Rs 27 crore while a candidate from Dimapur district spent Rs 23 crore.

The lowest-spending candidate was also from Zunheboto district who spent Rs 45,000 followed by a candidate from Kohima district with Rs 2.8 lakh. The third lowest-spending candidate was from Mokokchung district who spent Rs 5 lakh. The fourth and fifth lowest-spending candidates were from Wokha district who spent Rs 7.5 lakh each.

The report showed that the Naga People�s Front topped the chart in the money spent with Rs 373.90 crore by 58 candidates followed by the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party with Rs 267.20 crore by 40 candidates.

It said Zunheboto district was the highest-spending district with Rs 236.20 crore followed by Mokokchung district with Rs 191.90 crore. Dimapur was the third highest-spending district with Rs 132.80 crore. Peren district, which has two constituencies, was the lowest-spending district with Rs 30.85 crore.

According to the report, the statistics are an estimate of expenditures incurred, which has been carefully compiled from reliable sources of information and field study. It reiterated that the figures cannot be said to be the cohesive conclusion but may be the nearest amount spent.

The report stated that the money spending trend as per the demands of the voters points that the voters in Nagaland in general has less or no regard or completely ignorant of the importance of election.

It said the YouthNet representatives from all the 11 districts of the State joined hands to collaborate and collect information from their respective district to carry out the survey. The report is based on the survey.

�This research is made out of an exhaustive effort to bring to the notice of the people of Nagaland on how the wrong election system is affecting the alarming level of corruption in our State today. The present system of election creates a vicious circle � wealth drainage during election, rampant corruption of cut/share system from funds meant for development, no development/no productivity, stagnation of job both in the public and private sector, unemployment and poverty, same system of election,� the report said. It said the main purpose of conducting this study by the YouthNet was an effort towards electoral reform and also creating accountable and transparent governance in the State.

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