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EC rule: Star campaigners can carry up to Rs 1L cash


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NEW DELHI: Star campaigners can carry with them not more than Rs 1 lakh and candidates accompanying them during the campaign cannot have more than Rs 50,000 in their possession, the Election Commission has said, putting the cap on expenditure during the Lok Sabha polls.

Officials said that the EC has been monitoring the expenditure of star campaigners in addition to that of the candidates. “Star campaigners are allowed to carry a maximum of Rs 1 lakh cash, while candidates cannot hold more than Rs 50,000. Any excess amount found will be confiscated, and appropriate action will be taken against the individual,” a senior official said, whishing anonymity.

The EC has also announced spending limits for candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections. Candidates in smaller states are permitted to spend a maximum of Rs 75 lakh, while in larger states this can go up to Rs 95 lakh, officials said.

The expenditure for candidates in assembly elections has been capped at Rs 40 lakh and all their expenses, with regard to meetings, rallies, advertisements and vehicle costs, must be within this limit.

The poll panel has directed that candidates are required to maintain a detailed note of their daily expenses, starting from the filing of nomination to the end of the election. These records must be submitted to the EC for scrutiny within 30 days of completion of an election, the officials said.

Candidates are also instructed to maintain a separate register for daily expenses and provide detailed reports to the local election authority every day. The register should include expenses for rallies, meetings, and other campaign activities, along with video recordings as evidence.

EC has also fixed a rate in case a candidate hosts a celebrity for campaigning, as they can pay only Rs 2 lakh to such invitees and any overpayment may result in penalties. The rates for petty expenses like flower garlands, food and transportation have been fixed by the poll panel.

Expenses incurred during campaign events featuring star campaigners may be divided between the candidate and the campaigner. For example, if a candidate travels with a star campaigner or features their name and image in campaign materials, a portion of the expenses will be attributed to the candidate’s expenditure.

These regulations are based on the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1951, that aim to maintain transparency and accountability in election spending and ensure a level playing field for all candidates, officials said.

In the first general election in 1951-52, Lok Sabha candidates were allowed to spend a maximum of Rs 25,000, and just Rs 10,000 in some northeastern states. In 1971, the spending cap was raised to Rs 35,000 for most states. In 1980, the cap was again raised to Rs 1 lakh per candidate. In 1984, it was raised again to Rs 1.5 lakh in some states and Rs 1.3 lakh in some smaller states.

Voting for the 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases beginning April 19 and the results will be declared on June 4.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)