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Strict ECI, candidates ‘limit’ their election expenditure

The ECI has fixed a ceiling of Rs 28 lakh expenditure for the candidates in the Assembly Elections 2017, held on February 4. The election results would be out on March 11.

Candidates from the 23 assembly segments of doaba region ie Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr have uploaded their expenditure details.Candidates from SAD, BJP, Congress, AAP, BSP and the independents maintained that they spent less amount in because of a ‘short duration’ campaigning in the elections.

More than 40 candidates have declared their election expenditure to the ECI from Doaba region.

Interestingly, the candidates got only 28 days to campaign, which was also confined to door to door visits and small meetings instead of the traditional bigger rallies. “A major reason behind the less election expenditure was ‘demonetisation’. With limited cash withdrawal facility by the RBI, it was almost difficult to run the show. Further, the ECI has also imposed strict measures to ensure the implementation of Model Code of Conduct, as a result of which the election expenditure was bound to be less”, said a Congress leader.

An analysis of the election expenditure revealed that over a dozen candidates have spent over Rs 10 lakh in the election campaign. There were others, whose election expenditure ranged from Rs 4 to 8 lakh also.

Among the SAD-BJP alliance, almost all the candidates from the Doaba region claimed that their election expenditure remained around Rs 10 lakh.

BJP candidate from Jalandhar North K D Bhandari declared Rs 8.57 lakh expenditure while yet another senior BJP leader and Jalandhar Central candidate Manoranjan Kalia spent Rs 8.32 lakh till February 2.

Among the SAD candidates from Doaba, Sarabjit Singh Makkar from Jalandhar Cantt declared Rs 7.76 lakh expenditure. Similarly SAD candidate from Nakodar Gurpartap Singh Wadala also showed that he spent Rs 8.18 lakh while Upinderjit Kaur party candidate from Sultanpur Lodhi spent merely Rs 5.75 lakh only.

SAD candidate Chaudhary Nand Lal from Balachaur showed his election expenditure as Rs 8.50 lakh, Sham Chauasi candidate Mohinder Kaur Josh spent Rs 8.20 lakh in the election.

On the other hand, AAP candidate from Jalandhar Central Dr Sanjiv Sharma, who was a first-timer in the political field, spent Rs 4.13 lakh. Among most of the candidates, Sanjeev Sharma’s expenditure was the lowest.

The Congress candidates also claimed that they got fewer days to campaign owing to late announcement of names by the parties. Congress candidate from Jalandhar Cantonment seat Pargat Singh spent Rs 5.36 lakh and Banga (reserve) seat candidate from Nawanshahr district Satnam Singh Kainth declared Rs 5.49 lakh expenditure.

However, there were others, who shared they spent over Rs 10 lakh in the elections. AAP candidate from Nawanshahr Charanjit Singh Channi spent Rs 18 lakh. Similarly, AAP candidate from Banga Harjot Kaur spent Rs 11.42 lakh.

Congress candidate from Jalandhar Central seat also spent Rs 11 lakh in the election while Jalandhar North seat candidate Bawa Henry also spent Rs 10.57 lakh. Many candidates were still in the process of declaring their expenditure.

It is pertinent to mention here that the candidates were required to reveal their election expenditure even after the results would be out on March 11.

The ECI has clearly mentioned that even after the results were declared, the winners indulge in show of strength and hosting parties and dinners were supporters, which were also included in the election expenditure. Earlier also the candidates had shown their election expenditure thrice before the assembly elections.

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