Candidates contesting polls in five states will have to open separate bank accounts for election expenses and all payments above Rs 20,000 must be made by cheque, the Election Commission said on Wednesday.
Laying down stringent conditions on poll expenditure, chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said the panel was very serious about clamping down on use of black money during the month-long vote starting February 4.
The assembly elections in five states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa – will be over on March 8 and counting of votes will be held on March 11.
Zaidi said candidates must provide details of their poll expenses to the panel by no later than 75 days after the elections.
Candidates will also have to file an affidavit declaring they don’t have any pending dues for utility services and government accommodation.
“The candidates will be required to file a no-demand certificate and this certificate will come from agencies dealing with electricity, water, telephone and also the rent certificate of the government accommodation which these candidates may have occupied in past ten years,” Zaidi said.
Any failure to file these affidavits would be a “defect of substantial nature inviting scrutiny by the returning officer,” he added.
Further, the commission also said promoting a candidate on a party-owned TV channel will be counted towards the candidate’s campaign expenses.
Besides, candidates will have to affix their photographs on nomination papers and these will be displayed on ballots, he added.
Candidates in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand can spend Rs 28 lakh each, while those in Goa and Manipur can spend up to Rs 20 lakh each.