The Election Commission of India (ECI) has identified the Sahibabad assembly segment as an expenditure-sensitive constituency, among 28 such assembly segments in Uttar Pradesh. These are the constituencies where it is suspected that the candidates may resort to unfair means to lure voters and may incur more expenses.
The state goes to polls for the legislative assembly in seven phases with polling scheduled in Ghaziabad in the first phase on February 11.
The Sahibabad seat is the biggest assembly seat of the five in the district, the other four being Loni, Murad Nagar, Ghaziabad and Modi Nagar. It is the only assembly segment that features in the list of expenditure-sensitive segments in western UP.
Under the constituency, there are more than 8.61 lakh voters — 4.92 lakh men and 3.68 lakh women.
“For Sahibabad, the ECI has directed for a dedicated observer for the segment, whereas one observer looks after two assembly segments in the district. Further, there are two assistant expenditure observers posted in Sahibabad while the other segments have only one,” Nidhi Kesarwani, district election officer (DEO), said.
The ECI has set an expenditure cap of ₹28 lakh per candidate.
Besides comprising prime areas of Kaushambi, Indirapuram, Vasundhara and Vaishali, Sahibabad segment is also house to major sub-urban areas of Khoda, Makanpur and Maharajpur, among others.
“For increased monitoring of the Sahibabad segment, we have deployed five teams each of flying squads and static surveillance teams. The other segments have only three each of the squads. The number of checkpoints has also been increased, especially in areas that border Delhi,” the DEO said.
The district administration has also directed the candidates to register their list of expenses every three to four days.
For increased transparency, the ECI has also directed candidates and political parties not to accept donations, in excess of ₹20,000, in cash. Also, donations exceeding ₹20,000 should be made through an account payee cheque.
Eleven candidates are in the fray to secure the seat, including top contenders from Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress-SP alliance.
In 2012 assembly elections, the highest election expenditure in Sahibabad constituency was by Samajwadi Party candidate Prahlad Sharma, who registered an expenditure of ₹12,86,177. The Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Amarpal Sharma had stated an expenditure of ₹11,61,966. The lowest expenditure was ₹65,652, by Peace Party candidate Ravindra Kumar.
The other expenditure-sensitive assembly constituencies in the state include Hathras, Amethi, Mathura, Ghazipur and Aligarh, among others.