In terms of numbers, the UCPN (Maoist) has half a million, NC has 3,11,000 thousand and the UML has 1,50,000 full-time cadres. MJF and MJF (D) workers also make up half a million.
According to Hamra Sansad, a book on Nepali parliamentarians, 179 MPs (68 per cent) out of 263 said that they are 'professional' politicians. Similarly, 312 CA members (51 per cent) out of 601 mentioned politics as their main profession. If sister organisations and cadres from district to central level are included, the number 'politicians" will add up to 1.58 million which is 6 percent of the country's total population.
Donations and membership fees, the main sources of income for the parties, are not sufficient to cover the hefty costs of remuneration. However, despite the lack of steady income, many Nepali politicians enjoy lavish lifestyles which suggest that they must be involved in bribes, extortions and other illicit activities.
Politicians organise conferences, conventions, campaigns and mass gatherings to raise money for personal and party purposes. Many leaders have also been implicated in dividing local development budgets among themselves and secretly pocketing the cash. The Maoists in particular have been using the state coffers for the past five years to pay off YCL members and other cadres.
Although the parties need to submit their annual reports to the Election Commission, there is no authority to monitor the their expenses. The EC had instructed the parties to submit their reports by mid January, but only 30 of the 81 complied. Officials say that most parties are reluctant to present their report, because of a provision which requires donors who make a contribution of more than Rs 25,000 to be named. It is likely that without stricter policies, investigating such transgressions and making parties follow the rule of law will be impossible.