To contain the use of illegal money and monitor Lok Sabha candidate’s expenditure, the Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate (DM)- AV Rajamauli on Wednesday appointed an Indian revenue service (IRS) officer- Mohammad Naufal as expenditure observer.
The observer along with special teams will keep an eye on each candidate’s spending, and take appropriate action if a candidate is found distributing illegal money to influence voters.
The DM also formed a separate cell, which will issue permission for publishing advertisements in newspapers, television or radio. Political parties or candidate will furnish details about a particular advertisement so that district officials can take an appropriate action.
“The idea is the candidates or parties do not indulge in overspending to violate model code of conduct. Mobile advertisements, web, cable network, CD and other forms of promotions will also be observed to ensure that candidates do not go beyond permissible limit of spending,” said a senior official.
According to officials, huge amount of black money gets used in elections each year. A political party leader off the record told that they distribute money to voters during night each day after their day’s campaign.
“We do not want to distribute liquor, food or sweets because money can make entire family happy, and vote for the party,” said a local leader of a national party.
However, officials said that anyone can lodge a complaint about illegal money or overspending at mobile number- 9643983658. The number was issued on March 15, but no complaint has been received so far.
“Our team will visit Jewer area on Thursday to ensure that candidates are not distributing money in rural areas. Our flying squad or income tax officials are also on their toes to curb the use of illegal money. We will take prompt action on any complaint,” said Naufal.
According to norms, each candidate will have to submit an affidavit at the district election officer's office before publishing pamphlets or posters during election time.
“As per public representative act-1951’s section 127, a candidate along with two witnesses will have to submit an affidavit before publishing posters. If this law will be violated, we will take strict action that includes 6 months jail and Rs 2,000 penalties,” said an official.
Candidates will not be allowed to defame religion, cast, community or a candidate’s character.
Holding a fair poll always has been a challenge before the district administration because political parties and candidates lure gullible voters by distributing cash, liquor and various other gifts especially in rural areas, where election commission fail to catch offender candidates.
“During each election, thousands of liters of liquor get distributed, and excise department catch liquor smugglers in huge numbers. But shockingly, in a district, no political party candidate has been booked for smuggling liquor,” said Swarnima Singh, a social activist.
Excise department admit that they have not booked any candidate in the past for smuggling liquor.
“We have arrested about 10 people so far during this election season for smuggling liquor from Haryana and Delhi. But we failed to reach out to a candidate for whom they are fetching liquor to distribute. We are understaffed, therefore cannot do detailed investigation,” said a senior Excise official, requesting anonymity.