COIMBATORE: As much as Rs 150 for mutton biriyani and Rs 130 for chicken, Rs 10 for tea and Rs 12 for coffee, Rs 25 for poori and same for chappathi. This is not the rate card at a restaurant, but the chart prepared by the Election Commission in Coimbatore to calculate election expenditure ahead of the Assembly polls. It is now giving heartburn to almost all parties in the fray.
“The Election Commission of India has fixed Rs 28 lakh as the expenditure limit for each candidate contesting in the State Legislative Assembly election. Each and every rupee spent by the candidates from the date of nomination till the declaration of result will be included in his / her expenditure account,” said a district election official.
As per procedure, the Coimbatore District Election Officer — also the district collector — has fixed rates for everything from erecting podiums to utilising the services of a computer operator. But what would perhaps cause much discomfort is the price of biriyani — favourite food of thousands in the State that has accrued much infamy after being supplied by political parties among their cadre during poll time. This time, for every plate of biriyani served, Rs 130-Rs 150 will be added to the expenditure account of the candidate.
The chart was prepared under heads such as civil works like construction of podium, banner, poster, hoardings, hire charge for chairs, electrical works like supply, assembling and dismantling of floodlights, tubes, speakers, TVs, food, vehicles, driver batta, fuel and other items like gardener, sweeper, drivers, watchman, computer operator, etc. While a podium will cost a candidate Rs 800, using a stage carriage will cost Rs 4,500 to Rs 8,250, goods vehicle Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,400, contract carriages like omni bus Rs 6,600 to Rs 8,500, taxi about Rs 1,250 to Rs 1,750.
In the case of computer operators, Rs 350 will be included in the candidates’ expenditure account if the he/she is a diploma holder, Rs 400 for BSc graduates and Rs 460 in the case of engineering or MBA or MCA graduates.
For vehicles and fuel consumption, different rates have been fixed for plains and ghat areas.
“All the candidates have to submit expenditure account for a particular expense head within three days. We would also be maintaining a parallel account with the help of shadow observers. If the shadow observers’ account is higher than the account submitted by the candidate, we will issue notice to the candidate,” the official added.