This assembly election, candidates will have to watch what and how much they spend for rallies and campaigning to lure voters as the Election Commission of India will keep a close eye on them.
The Election Commission of India has put a mechanism in place by which it will ensure that individual candidates not only adhere to the ceiling of Rs. 14 lakh on election expenditure but also submit correct statements of account to the body within 30 days of the polls.
There is, however, no limit on the poll expenditure of political parties during the campaign period.
Chief electoral officer Vijay Dev said not only the candidates will open a separate bank account for election expenditure and maintain a record of expenses, the electoral office will also maintain a shadow expenditure register of each candidate.
“The candidate will have to submit the expenditure register along with invoices to the district electoral officer within 30 days of declaration of results. The district electoral officer will take the shadow expenditure register into account and send the report to the election commission,” Dev said.
According to Dev, 80% of the candidates generally show their expenditure less than half the limit set by the election commission. To ensure correctness of accounts, the election office will set up expenditure monitoring teams, which will include expenditure observers, flying squads, static surveillance teams and video surveillance teams.
The election commission will extensively video record all events of the candidates. The account register maintained by the candidates will have to be inspected by the election observer and returning officer at least thrice during the campaign.
Apart from the observers, who will come from different states, the election office will have officials from the accounts and audit department and income tax department to keep a check on expenditure.
“We will prepare a list of each item used during the election process and their rates with the help of the political parties much before the election campaigning starts. The list will serve as a ready-reckoner and will help us calculate expenditure,” Dev said.