Continuing its tough stand on misuse of money in poll-bound Gujarat, Election Commission of India (EC) has directed political parties and likely candidates to provide information about estimated expenditure for rallies and public meetings, at the time of seeking permission for the same.
A candidate, or his election agent, political parties and any other association have to submit Annexure-16 to the returning officer (responsible for overseeing elections in the constituency) of the constituency where they seek to hold public events.
Annexure-16 requires a candidate to fill out information about logistics that are to be used in the rally, including number of chairs, tables, decorative arches, lights, loudspeakers and microphones, and any other charges payable to the electricity board.
“The candidate or political party will have to submit endorsed copy of Annexure-16 at the concerned police station, without which no police permission will be granted,” said district election officer (DEO) of Ahmedabad Vijay Nehra on Tuesday.
Once the Annexure-16 is available with the returning officer, he/she will submit a copy of it with the videography team. They will conduct video surveillance of the public meeting to ensure that no irregularities take place.
“The candidate will be notified the next day if expenses are higher than notified in the Annexure-16,” said Nehra. The candidate will be given a chance to explain the inflated bills, following which the expenditures will be added to his/her account.
This practice is a departure from earlier elections, where expenditure details were submitted much later and thus, crosschecking wasn’t possible.