Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Recession hits poll campaign in Gujarat

Recession hits poll campaign in Gujarat
The Gaea News

AHMEDABAD - The economic downslide has hit Lok Sabha candidates hard in Gujarat.

Businessmen reeling under the impact of recession are shying away from extending their usual offers of free food, volunteers and money for the election campaign.

'Candidates have been asked to take care of expenses from their own pockets by the political leadership. The contribution from traders is either very less or nil, particularly in rural areas. The diamond cutting and polishing units in Sabarkantha are in a very bad shape and have no money to give us,' Himmatbhai Patel, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker in Sabarkantha district, told IANS.

Patel added that owners of large grocery shops, grain merchants and edible oil stockists normally gave money for posters, pamphlets and banners. Very few of them had extended help for the general elections that begin Thursday.

Ashok Makwana, a Congress supporter, said fewer vehicles were being hired for campaigning in the state as compared to the assembly polls in December 2007.

'This time the candidates aren't willing to spend much and aren't getting much monetary help from supporters. Most traders are making excuses not to contribute towards poll campaign. Those who are giving money are offering 50 percent less than what they gave during the assembly polls,' he added.

Traders who would normally make some of their employees canvas are not willing to spare them this time since they want all hands working to help their businesses tide over the recession.

Political parties thus have had to scout for young volunteers.

'The recession has certainly had an impact on the preparations for the Lok Sabha polls. Campaigning is not on as high a note as it should be,' opposition leader Shaktisinh Gohil of the Congress told IANS.

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