With the Election Commission (EC) keeping tabs on poll expenditure, candidates will have to keep a count of teacups and samosas served to their supporters, the number of chairs and banners at rallies and publicity vehicles deployed for campaigning during the assembly elections in Punjab.
A protestor sits amidst empty chairs during a protest rally against the people opposing the proposed law to create a powerful new ombudsman, Lokpal Bill, in Mumbai. AFP Photo
The reason: they will have to give details of all these items to the poll observers along with their expenditure statements. Each district election officer (DEO) has codified rates of all these items, including tea and samosas, as per the cost of living in the area. And the expenditure incurred by each candidate will be calculated as per the 'codified rates'.
As per the instructions, the candidates will have to maintain details of spending on refreshments, arrangements, campaigning, etc. in the expenditure register. The DEOs have set up videography and video-viewing teams for each assembly constituency in their respective districts to minutely observe the expenditure incurred by the candidates. These teams will record the proceedings at all political rallies and other programmes of candidates.
While video-viewing teams will watch videos to make an assessment of the number of chairs hired, quantity of tea or snacks served, tents and other furniture used, banners, vehicles, labourers employed, etc., the account teams will calculate expenses incurred on these as per the rates codified by the DEO.
Each candidate will also have to maintain and submit his/her expenditure register, which will then be examined by the expenditure observers. Rahul Tewari, DEO, Ludhiana, said if there was any difference between the register maintained by tehaccount committee and the expenditure details submitted by the candidate, a notice would be issued to the candidate to explain the mismatch.
"In case any candidate crosses the expenditure limit of Rs. 16 lakh, his/her case will be forwarded to the Election Commission for action," he said.