The poll spending limit for candidates contesting Lok Sabha and assembly elections has been enhanced by 10 percent based on the recommendation of the Election Commission that contestants be allowed to spend more on campaigning keeping in mind difficulties they may face due to COVID-19 curbs.
The hike in expenditure limit will help candidates contesting the Bihar assembly poll as well as bypolls to one Lok Sabha and 59 assembly seats. Over a month ago, the Election Commission had recommended a 10 percent hike in expenditure for all elections to be held during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hike was recommended keeping in mind the difficulties candidates may face in campaigning amid the restrictions imposed, including those on holding rallies amid the pandemic. The notification issued by the Law Ministry on Monday night said the maximum expenditure a candidate can incur for campaigning in Lok Sabha polls is now Rs 77 lakh. It was so far Rs 70 lakh.
For assemblies, it has been hiked from Rs 28 lakh to Rs 30.8 lakh. The maximum expenditure limit for candidates to spend on their campaigning varies from state to state.
The notification, which amended the Conduct of Elections Rules, does not mention that the limit has been hiked keeping in mind the pandemic and whether it is limited for polls being held amid COVID-19. The amended rules, the notification said,” Shall come into force on the date of their publication in the official Gazette and shall remain in force till such date as may be notified by the Central Government.” ”The maximum expenditure limit was enhanced for a reason. But the notification need not mention the reason,” explained a senior EC functionary.
The last time the expenditure ceiling was enhanced was in 2014 just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Assembly polls in Bihar will be held on October 28, November 3 and November 7. Most of the assembly by-polls will be held on November 3. Bypolls to the Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar and some assembly seats in Manipur will take place on November 7.
First Published: IST