Politicians splurge over rallies in Bihar

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Patna, Nov 27 (UNI) Politicians in Bihar are spending huge sums of money for organising mega rallies to display their strength in the political arena.

Just as RJD chief Lalu Prasad recently organised the ''Chetavni Rally'', which the ruling NDA had claimed was a failure, Patna will again witness a rally organised by LJP chief and Union Fertilizer and Steel Minister Ramvilas Paswan.

Mr Paswan's party is spending huge sums to organise the 'Sankalp Rally' at the historical Gandhi Maidan here tomorrow.

The LJP had booked 27 trains and spent Rs 1.5 crore for it, according to party sources. It was also expected to bring the rallyists by roads for which the total expenditure was likely to be Rs five lakh per district--which is roughly around Rs 1.6 crore.

LJP sources today said a helicoptor had been hired for Rs 30,000 per hour, as Mr Paswan toured for at least eight days by this chopper. They, however, admitted that the party owed over Rs 30 lakh to the Bihar government.

For the display of publicity materials, the party had scored a point over the RJDs rally as Patna was flooded with welcome gates and hoardings.

Sources at the Patna Municipal Corporation said for every welcome gate, the LJP had to pay Rs 1,000.

When contacted, a senior LJP leader, playing a pivotal role in organising the rally, pleaded ignorance on the number of welcome gates erected in the city. The sources disclosed that the LJP had spent over Rs 30 lakh for publicity materials.

Besides, the LJP was concentrating on media publicity and advertising on the eve of the event and had so far spent Rs 3,12,400 for the purpose.

In order to maintain an edge over RJD supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, his arch rival and colleague, and to ensure participation of people in large numbers, Mr Paswan conducted a whirlwind tour of different areas and held public meetings even at remote places.

Meanwhile, CPI national Executive Member U N Mishra opined that instead of spending such a big amount for a ''show of strength in political arena'', the leaders should spend the money on development.

''Funds are continually being drained out in the name of rallies,'' Mr Mishra said and suggested that the leaders should consider utilising the money for the benefit of the people.

Prominent socialist leader Bhola Prasad Singh said the expenditures made on rallies by political leaders were simply a 'vulgar display of black money'. The cost for holding such rallies had touched around Rs 50 crore, he added.

UNI

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