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Khadakwasla bypoll candidates first to gain from raised election spending limit

Decision by Election Commission to allow contestants to use up to Rs 16 lakh on campaign gets mixed reactions from electorate

Candidates
contesting the Khadakwasla bypolls on October 13 will be the first to benefit from a decision by the Election Commission (EC) allowing them to spend up to Rs 16 lakh on election campaign for state assembly elections.

Previously, candidates could not spend more than Rs 10 lakh on an election campaign. "We have received a letter from the EC confirming the decision to raise the election expenditure by Rs 6 lakh, over the existing Rs 10 lakh, for the state assembly election," said Apurva Wankhede, deputy election officer, Pune district. "We have now set up seven teams to keep a watch on the expenditure of each candidate. It is mandatory for the candidates to open a separate bank account through which they have to show their expenditure."

He said the candidates would have to declare their personal and family assets also. Similarly, a toll-free number would be provided to the citizens, so that they can complain about over spending by candidates, he said.  
There were mixed reactions from people regarding the raising of expenditure limit. "Ideally speaking, there should be a limitation on the election expenditure of a candidate. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the increasing inflation rate, the amount of Rs 10 lakh for each candidate seems to be less," said Dr Sanjyot Apte, professor of political science, Sir Parshurambhau College.

Not every one agreed with Apte. "Why do they need such large amounts of money?" Shraddha D, a student, said.   "The amount of Rs 10 lakh is more than enough. What is the need for more money?"  In the meantime, no candidate has filled up the candidature form since Monday. The last date for submitting the form is September 26, said Vijaya Pangarkar, assistant returning officer.

7 teams to keep eye on spending
>> MCMC Media Certification Monitory Cell
>> Video Surveillance team
>> Video viewing team
>> Accounting team
>> Flying squad
>> Static team
>> Expenditure control room

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