Candidates to open bank account for poll expenses

Candidates to open bank account for poll expenses

In order to monitor poll-related expense during the upcoming Assembly elections, the State Election Commission has decided to make it mandatory for every candidate to open a separate bank account for receipt and payment of money used during campaigning.

Election Commission officers said candidates will have to furnish the details of the separate account at the time of filing nomination.

“The initiative is aimed at institutionalising the expenditure monitoring system. Every candidate will have to open a separate account for poll-related expenditure. The account could be opened with a bank or in a post office,” said chief electoral officer of Delhi, Vijay Dev.

“While unavailability of bank account details at the time of nomination would not invite cancellation of nomination at the scrutiny stage, not having one could have serious repercussions later,” the officer said.

Officers said the candidates can open the account jointly with their election agent and will have to incur all expenditure related to the polls through a cheque or a draft.
“The candidates will have the exception of spending petty amounts, to the limit of Rs 20,000, in cash,” said Dev.

The officers said a slew of measures will be taken to ensure an effective monitoring candidates' poll expenditure. The commission will deploy several expenditure monitoring cell including expenditure observers, assistant observers, video surveillance team, video viewing team, flying squads and static surveillance team for the purpose.

The commission is also identifying expenditure sensitive constituencies and pockets – prone to high expenditure and corrupt practices – to keep a tab on expenditure being incurred by different candidates, they said.

 “The commission will maintain a shadow expenditure register and a folder of evidence in order to evaluate and cross check the details furnished by the candidates,” said Dev.
The Election Commission of India has fixed the upper limit for poll expenses of each candidate at Rs 14 lakh for Assembly polls and Rs 40 lakh for general elections in Delhi.

The officers said they are making special arrangements to check paid news. A media certification and monitoring committee has been formed, which will conduct a special workshop for representatives of the media houses to educate them about the guidelines over the issue.