People take part in campaigning activities with an intention to earn quick money in a short span of time.
The assembly election has given an opportunity to many people to earn lumpsum money in a short span of time. Unemployed youth, domestic help, drivers, photographers are taking part in several rallies to earn money. Adults were earning Rs 500 per day, while children were paid Rs 150 for distributing pamphlets. Women were earning Rs 300 to 350 while photographers made Rs 3000 to Rs 500 per day. Bike drivers were paid Rs 300 to Rs 500 daily while the full time campaigners were earning Rs 600 and part time campaigners earned Rs 300 per day. They also distribute pamphlets to voters at their residents. Students had visited door to door to campaign for political parties. The rallies which were organised at 9 am and 3 pm concluded yesterday.
Weak candidates spend more money to campaign for election instead of those who are confident of winning polls. Some politicians have hired bodyguards in order to defend themselves from the assault of activists from opposition parties. They paid them Rs 1500 per day. Political parties such as the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have deputed their leaders to hold meetings and rallies to ensure the victory of their candidates. Parties are also sending the news and photographs of their daily meetings to media. Some of them had hired event managers and students for campaigning. Leaders have shed excess weight and are grooming themselves for attracting voters. Parties had hired domestic help for campaigning as they had earned ten times more than the amount received by them as monthly salary. Many labourers had temporarily stopped going to work for taking part in campaigning activities
Satish Pandey a daily wage earner from Borivali said, “I work eight to 10 hours a day and earn a paltry sum of Rs 200 per day. If I go on a political campaign, I not only get Rs 500 for a few hours, but also free food.”
People who were campaigning in plush areas earned more money while those residing in slum dominated areas walked away with lesser remuneration.
Sources said women working for political parties in South Mumbai earned Rs 800-1,000 per day, those campaigning for political parties in the central suburbs received Rs 500-600 per day, and in the suburbs it was anywhere between Rs 300-500. The lure of quick money has prompted many of them to report sick at work, while others rush through their chores to report in time for campaigning.
A social worker, on condition of anonymity, said: “Political parties usually target slum dwellers. While men are lured with cash and liquor, women are given cash and sarees. These people do not have alliance to any party, and will work for any party that offers them the best deal.”
Sometimes, one person will attend rallies of different parties on the same day. And even if they stick with one party for rallies, there is a good possibility of them voting for some other party. Drivers were in great demand and earned lumpsum money.
Kiran Shelke a driver from Kandivali said, “If I am expected to take part in a bike rally, I am paid Rs 500 per rally, which includes my bike and fuel charges. However, if a party worker is riding his bike along with me, he will be given only fuel charges. In slum areas, the rate goes down to Rs 400.”
Over 8.33 crore electorate will exercise their franchise to elect 288 representatives from over 4,000 candidates in fray, including 1,356 of major parties. Among the total electorate are 4,40,36,401 males and 3,93,63,011 females and 984 service sector voters. Due to split in the political parties, a multi-cornered contest will be witnessed in most of total 288 assembly constituencies.