HYDERABAD: With poll campaigning for the ensuing Parliament elections set to gain full momentum across 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, the Election Commission of India has fixed a cap for candidate’s campaign spending at `70 lakh. It has also made auditing of candidates’ account statements mandatory requirement under its rules after polling.
The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Telangana and District Election Officers (DEOs) would enforce item-wise cap for about 150 items including 17 food items.
All this is to curtail the election expenditure of candidates, since money spent on food is also accounted for by the ECI. The political parties were seeking further reduction in prices of food, transport and other items, GHMC officials said.
Candidates use creative methods to hoodwink ECI and escape the vigilance of the police and expenditure observers tasked with checking the use of unaccounted cash in campaigning.
GHMC officials said that the corporation will give registers to the candidates and ask them to file the day’s expenditure. The election officials will monitor the register books and find anything fishy necessary action would be taken. For eg; if a candidates provides 500 mutton biryani packets to party workers during campaigning and mentions that it was `100 per packet and rate chart prescribed by CEO office or respective DEOs says it is `190, these anomalies would be rectified in the registers of the candidates and proper expenditures will be mentioned.
Though the expenditure of a contesting candidate for Lok Sabha is `70 lakh, however, cash-rich candidates are spending several times more than the prescribed rules, officials said.