Campaign spending: What the Dhaka mayor candidates have revealed?

  • Joyanta Saha and Kazi Nafia Rahman,
    Published: 2020-01-18 04:36:42 BdST


Despite public scepticism about the money candidates declare as their campaign spending, the mayor runners of Dhaka have submitted to the Election Commission accounts of possible expenses and sources.

The Awami League mayoral aspirants in both Dhaka North and South City Corporations will contest in the election with their own money while the BNP candidates will have to borrow to meet the expenses, according to their accounts.

There are six candidates vying for the office of mayor in the North and seven in the South in the elections slated for Jan 30.

The six mayoral candidates in the North are- Atiqul Islam from the Awami League, Tabith Awal from the BNP, Sheikh Fazle Bari Masud from Islami Andolan Bangladesh, Ahmed Sajedul Rubel from CPB, Anisur Rahman Dewan from NPP and Shahin Khan from PDP.

Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh from the Awami League, Ishraque Hossain from the BNP, Saifuddin ahmed Milon from the Jatiya Party, Abdur Rahman from Islami Andolan Bangladesh, Bahrane Sultan Bahar from NPP, Abdus Samad Sujon from Gonofront and Akhtaruzzaman Ayatullah from Bangladesh Congress will fight it out among themselves in the South.

They are allowed to spend money for campaign activities, including transportation, street rally, informal meeting, election camp, and housing and administration cost for the agents and activists.

The EC has published the accounts along with their wealth statements on its website.

There is a general perception that most of the time the candidates do not follow the rules on maximum expenditure. The Election Commission also never monitors the issue.

In Dhaka, the mayor candidates can spend a maximum Tk 5 million for their campaign in line with the ratio of voters.

Taposh, however, says Tk 5 million won’t be enough for his campaign.

He wishes to spend an additional Tk 300,000 on top of the maximum amount fixed by the EC.

His annual earnings include Tk 14.65 million as a lawyer, Tk 660,000 from “job”, and over Tk 4.2 million from house or apartment rent. He has Tk 260 million in cash.

He says he will need to spend Tk 1.2 million to print 400,000 posters. He will also print 450,000 leaflets and 750,000 handbills for Tk 450,000 and Tk 750,000 for street rallies.

Ishraque says his mother is bearing half of his election expenses. The 33-year-old will pay the rest from house rent and savings, according to his accounts.

He says he is printing 350,000 posters for Tk 600,000 to reach the 2367,000 voters in the South.

Tabith, who runs 37 companies and has an annual income of over Tk 40 million, according to his affidavit, says in the accounts of expenditure and source that he will borrow money from his mother and wife to foot the bill.

He plans to spend Tk 4 million from his earnings in business and borrow Tk 1 million, according to the accounts.

He may need to spend Tk 350,000 for 27 election camps, Tk 180,000 for a central camp, Tk 400,000 for transportation, Tk 350,000 for informal meetings, Tk 335,500 for 200 street rallies, and 410,000 for printing voter list, buying CD, training of polling agents, among other costs.

His rival Atiqul is paying for the election expenses from his business earnings. He runs 16 firms and earns more than Tk 1.9 million annually.

He will print 300,000 posters for Tk 300,000 and 60,000 leaflets for Tk 30,000, 150,000 handbills for Tk 120,000, 250 banners for Tk 150,000 and 125 digital banners for Tk 100,000, according to his accounts.