The Union Ministry of Justice and Justice on Thursday approved the raising of the ceiling for electoral expenses per candidate to a maximum of ??95 lakh in the legislative elections and ??40 lakhs in assembly elections, increasing them from previous limits of ??77 lakh and ??30.8 lakhs.
The increase comes as five states head for parliamentary elections – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa – even as a third surging wave of Covid-19 cases has sparked demand for rallies policies. practically to prevent the spread of infection.
The budget increase is intended to facilitate this change, officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
“In the exercise of the powers conferred by paragraph (3) of Article 77 read with Article 169 of the Law on the Representation of the People, 1951 (43 of 1951), the central government, after having consulted the Commission Election of India, is making the following provisions of the rules to further amend the rules of conduct of elections, 1961, namely, said the Government in a notice in the Gazette. These rules may be called Rules of Conduct of Elections ( modifications), 2022. (2) They will come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Journal ”, indicates the notification in the Official Journal.
In 2020, the government approved a 10% increase in the ceiling on voting spending ahead of Bihar’s elections to allow candidates to spend on a virtual campaign amid the pandemic. The ceiling for parliamentary constituencies was then raised to ??77 lakh, from the 2014 limit of ??70 lakh, and assembly polls at ??30.8 lakhs of ??28 lakh in the major states.
With the revision, candidates from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab – classified among the large states – will therefore be able to pass ??40 lakh in the next polls, while those in Goa and Manipur – classified as small states – will have to meet a limit of ??28 lakh.
The increase was authorized on the recommendation of the electoral commission, the official quoted above said.
According to EC officials, officials took three considerations into account when recommending an increase in the limit. “The number of voters has increased significantly, the inflation index has also increased,” said a second official.
The Commission predicts that virtual campaigns will also increase costs. “They will have to install large screens in various places, so a budget for this had to be taken into account,” the official added, saying this was part of the reforms the electoral panel lobbied for.
The Commission was scanned in April this year as polls continued amid the peak of the second wave of the pandemic. The Madras High Court went so far as to say that EC officials were guilty of murder for conducting polls.
Candidates’ expenses include money they spend on ballots, rallies, posters and other props. The same, however, can also be borne by the political party to which the candidate is affiliated.