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Allow candidates of poll-bound states to withdraw Rs 2 lakh: EC to RBI

The Election Commission on Wednesday requested the Reserve Bank of India to increase the weekly cash withdrawal limit of candidates contesting Assembly polls in the five states to Rs 2 lakh from the usual Rs 24,000.

In a letter addressed to RBI governor Urjit Patel, the EC said the candidates are finding it difficult to meet their campaign expenditure due to withdrawal limits imposed after the note ban. Stating the cause of the request the EC said, it is very important for the candidates to have hard cash for campaign expenses, especially in the rural areas, where banking facilities are negligible. Although most payments are made through cheques, hard cash is required to meet petty expenses.

The poll watchdog said the returning officer of the constituencies will issue certificates notifying that the person is a candidate in fray and he or she may be allowed to withdraw Rs 2 lakh per week from the bank account opened specially to meet campaign expenses. The EC has also requested the RBI to extend this facility till March 11, the day of counting.

The RBI was also reminded that as per law, candidates contesting Assembly polls in UP, Uttarakhand, and Punjab can spend Rs 28 lakh on campaigning, while the expenses are limited to Rs 20 lakh in Goa and Manipur.