The State Election Commission of Maharashtra on Wednesday doubled the candidates’ election expenditure limit for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and corporations of A class cities making it to Rs 10 lakh. Earlier the election expenditure limit was Rs 5 lakh.
Candidates’ expenditure limit for Municipal corporation polls with 151 seats or more has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh. This includes Pune civic body. Corporations with 116 to 150 seats, such as Thane, Nagpur and Nashik will have a cap of Rs 8 lakh.
The corporations with 86 to 115 seats will have an expenditure cap of Rs 7 lakh while those having 85 or lesser number of seats, will have an expenditure cap of Rs five lakh. The expenses limit for Zilla Parishad Polls has also been raised to Rs 6 Lakh (71 to 75 wards), Rs five lakh (61-70 wards) and Rs four lakhs (50-60 wards).
The poll watchdog was mulling about “rationalising” the election expenses of candidates for “practical reasons” since the last two weeks. DNA first reported this in its 19 January edition.
“The proposal aimed to make the bar more “scientific and rational” taking crucial factors like geography and population of the cities and districts into account,” JS Saharia, State election commissioner had told DNA.
The expenditure limit was revised in 2012 when it was made almost four fold. For instance, Mumbai’s limit had gone up from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs five lakh while it was raised from Rs 1 lakh to 4 lakh for Thane, Pune etc.
Most political parties had sought a hike in expenditure limit from the poll watchdog a fortnight ago. The Nationalist Congress Party had then submitted a written proposal in this regard, said Saharia.
Interestingly, most parties and their candidates are often accused of spending a hefty sum during polls, crossing the approved limit set by the poll body. However, they ensure their official books remain “clean” and within the rules.
Saharia hopes that a raise in bar will ease out candidates who show less than actual expenses to avoid action.