The Election Commission on Wednesday requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to enhance the weekly cash withdrawal limit of candidates contesting polls in five states to Rs 2 lakh from the Rs 24,000 imposed post demonetization as they would find it difficult to meet their campaign expenditure.
The Commission told RBI Governor Urjit Patel that it has been apprised of the problems candidates are facing due to withdrawal limits imposed after note ban. It said the returning officer of the constituency will issue certificate that the person is a candidate in fray and he or she be allowed to withdraw Rs 2 lakh cash per week from the bank account opened specially to meet electioneering expenses. The EC said the facility be extended till March 11, the day of counting.
Candidates are bound to open an election account for meeting poll-related expenditure which is monitored by the EC. The Commission said with a weekly withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000, a candidate would be able to withdraw Rs 96,000 in cash during the election process which lasts 3 to 4 week. It reminded the Central bank that as per law, candidates contesting assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab can spend Rs 28 lakh for electioneering. The limit in Goa and Manipur is Rs 20 lakh. The poll panel said despite paying amounts through cheques, candidates still need hard cash for petty expenses. Also the “issue is further adversely effected” in rural areas where banking facilities are “negligible”.