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Rediff.com  » News » LS candidates' poll expense ceiling goes up to Rs 40 lakh

LS candidates' poll expense ceiling goes up to Rs 40 lakh

February 13, 2014 16:34 IST

The candidates contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls will now be able to spend Rs 40 lakh, an increase of Rs 15 lakh from the last poll expenditure limit.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal Saibal Barman said the raise was effected in 2011 and came in force for Lok Sabha by-elections ever since.

"But for the first time it will be effective in the general elections this time," Barman said.

He said the contestants for Lok Sabha seats were allowed to spend Rs 25 Lakh maximum for electioneering purpose in 2009.

"However, different political parties are still not happy as they demanded further rise of this ceiling of poll expenditure for the coming Lok Sabha polls during a meeting with the Election Commission in Delhi in last week of January," Amit Roy Chowdhury, Officer on Special Duty, Poll Expenses, in EC office here said.

Chowdhury said the Commission is also stepping up its surveillance against poll expenses by candidates.

"The EC will deploy Flying Squad (FS), Static Survellance Team (SST) and Video Surveillance Team (VST), which will work under Expenditure Observers appointed by the Commission," he said.

The observers would also help create an awareness against misuse of poll expenses, while a campaign would also be launched through media, he said. Speaking about the probable date for the Lok Sabha polls notifications, Barman said the election body is scheduled to hold a meeting of all CEOs in Delhi on February 20 in this regard.

"The Lok Sabha poll 2009 was notified on March 1, but we are yet to receive any indication from the Commission," Barman said, as speculation went up about notification of the Lok Sabha poll 2014 taking place by the end of this month or the first week next month.

"Model Code of Conduct will be in force immediately with the announcement," Chowdhury said.

The CEO office is mulling over holding a meeting with all recognised political parties in the last week of February, he said.

Simultaneously, the CEO would also hold a meeting with the representatives of Media, they said.

As opposition Congress and BJP has demanded deployment of central forces in West Bengal from the date of notification to create a conducive atmosphere for the Lok Sabha polls, the EC has maintained that it would depend on the availability of such forces, though all options are open.

"Elections will be held throughout the country. Such deployment will depend on the availability of central forces. But all options are open," Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said last month after his meeting with parties.

"The Commission's aim is to create a situation conducive to holding the Lok Sabha poll in a free and fair manner," he had said.

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