Poll panel fixes candidate spending limit at Rs 16 lakh

Transactions for expenses through single bank account mandatory

Poll panel fixes candidate spending limit at Rs 16 lakh

The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (OCEO), Karnataka, has made it mandatory for all candidates contesting the coming Assembly elections to conduct transactions pertaining to their election expenses through a single bank account so that the election expenditure can be closely monitored.

Disclosing this to reporters on Thursday, Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha said the candidates should disclose their bank account numbers at the time of filing nomination papers.

The OCEO will keep track of all transactions done through this account, till the election process is completed, he said.

The account has to be opened in one of the scheduled banks. The candidate must use cheque to draw more than Rs 20,000 from the account at a time.

Besides the OCEO, the banks and Income Tax Department too will be keeping a watch on the candidates’ expenditure.

A candidate can incur a maximum expenditure of Rs 16 lakh during the elections, the CEO said.

This apart, there will be observers at multiple levels to monitor expenditure and election malpractices. The Election Commission of India (ECI) will appoint a General Observer, an Expenditure Observer and a Micro Observer to each of the 224 constituencies. Besides, a Police Observer, a senior IPS officer from outside the State, will be appointed at the district level to ensure that there is no violation of the rule book, Jha said.

Transfer of officials

The OCEO, he said, will be undertaking an exercise to transfer all State government officials who are directly involved in the election process and are serving in one place for more than three years. All those working in their home districts, too, will be shifted to other places till the election process is over.

The move is aimed at ensuring free and fair elections. About 50,000 personnel will be directly involved in the elections, he said.

The government has been barred from transferring its officials involved in the election process. For transferring others, permission of the OCEO is a must.

Model code of conduct

Directions have been issued to comply with the model code of conduct strictly. All new decisions of the government have to be put on hold.

Implementation of all decisions taken in the Cabinet meetings held recently too have to be put on hold if the government order to that effect is not issued.

As far as civil works are concerned, no new project can be implemented.

The project cannot be taken up, even if the government has finalised the tenders and issued the work order.

However, emergency works like drought relief and drinking water supply can be taken up, he said.

Paramilitary Forces

About 500 companies of Paramilitary Forces - 50,000 personnel - will be required to ensure security during the Assembly polls in the State.

This is over and above the State police personnel used for the single-phase polls.
“We have conveyed our requirement to the Union Home Ministry to ensure security during elections,” he stated.

He said the ECI has convened a meeting with senior officials of the Home and Railway ministries in New Delhi on March 22 to discuss the issues related to security.
He said an ECI team, led by Chief Election Commissioner
V S Sampath, will be arriving in Bangalore again in a week’s time to review the election preparedness.

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