In their endeavour to keep tabs on expenditure by candidates in upcoming state assembly elections, Election Commission of India (EC) on Friday fixed rates of furniture, sound-system, printing material, and paid advertisements among other paraphernalia used during campaigning.
At the time of seeking permission for public rallies and meetings, political parties and their candidates have to submit Annexure-16 enumerating spending of the same.
The document contains separate sections about logistics (chairs, tables, arches, and other furniture), sound-system (loudspeakers and microphones), advertising (posters, banners, cutouts, digital boards) and electrical requirements, that are payable at state electricity board.
Cost of each item used have to be mentioned here. A copy of the Annexure-16 will be with commission-appointed videography team. They will crosscheck every detail at the venue of the meetings and also will record the event as proof.
The regulations were finalised by the election commission after consultations with recognised political parties of the country. The quotations earmarked are in line with prevailing market rates of each of the logistics.
“Fixing rates (of logistics) allows us to tally money spent by the party (or candidate) on any election campaigning,” said Vijay Nehra, district election officer of Ahmedabad.
In addition to finalising nitty-gritty of the campaigns, election commission also fixed rates for lunch and dinner to be served during poll-related events. A plate of puris, two vegetable curries, rice and dal, papad and salad will cost Rs32.50 to the political party (or candidate). Each cup of tea and coffee will cost Rs5 and Rs6 to the candidate.
“Expenditure incurred for food provided free-of-cost to people associated with elections will be considered as expenses made by the candidate,” said an official with the election commission.
The poll-monitoring body has fixed rates for the sound system as well, quotations of which range from Rs1,500 to Rs1 lakh per day. Extras will have to be paid for. Power generators, fans, water-coolers, television sets, projectors, floodlights, halogen lights and even wires used for poll-related activities have to be accounted for.