MANGALDAI, May 18 - It is the time for the counting of votes and announcement of results. The poll results will add to the political careers of the 126 candidates who will emerge winners, whereas the losing candidates will be filled with frustration and the possibility of a gloomy political future. Among the losing candidates, a majority will suffer not only politically, but also economically, as they will not be able to get back the amounts they had deposited as security money along with their nominations. This means the mega democratic phenomenon called elections will bring some cheers to the government exchequer which spent several crores of rupees to carry out the poll exercise.
As per official statistics, 539 candidates in the first phase and 523 in the second phase (a total of 1,062 candidates) contested in the 126 Assembly constituencies in the State. Out of the 126 seats, 16 seats are reserved for STs, while another eight seats are reserved for SCs. The remaining 102 constituencies are unreserved.
In these reserved seats, there are a total of 149 contesting candidates with 53 from the SC and 96 from the ST communities. On the other hand, a total of 913 candidates have contested from the 102 unreserved seats. According to the sources in the Election department, the amount fixed officially as security for a general candidate is Rs 10,000, whereas there is 50 per cent relaxation in the case of a candidate belonging to SC or ST. Therefore, an amount of Rs 7,45,000 has been collected as security from candidates for the reserved seats, while a sum of nearly Rs 91,30,000 has been deposited by candidates belonging to the unreserved category.
Meanwhile, as per norms, the security deposit of a candidate is forfeited if he fails to secure one-sixth of the votes polled in the respective seat. If we examine the records of the votes bagged by candidates in the last few polls in the State, it will be clearly found that in most of constituencies, only the winning candidate and his nearest rival candidate managed to secure more than one-sixth of the total votes cast.
In the last Assembly elections in the Darrang election district, which comprises four Assembly constituencies, the security money of 20 contesting candidates out of the total of 28 candidates amounting to Rs 1,80,000 was forfeited. The candidates whose security money was forfeited belonged to major political parties including the INC, BJP, AGP, AIUDF and BPF. This time also, there is every possibility of the security deposits of around 30 candidates among the 40 contesting candidates in the district being forfeited. In such a situation, from the data of previous poll results in the State as a whole, the security deposit of around 800 candidates is likely to be forfeited and thus, the government exchequer will be richer by about Rs 75,00,000 immediately after the announcement of the results.