Ahead of assembly polls, ECI raises election expenditure ceiling for candidates

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Ahead of crucial assembly elections in five states, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Thursday it has enhanced election expenditure ceiling for candidates in assembly constituencies from the existing ₹20 lakh to ₹28 lakh, and from ₹28 lakh to 40 lakh, in respective states and Union territories.

In case of parliamentary constituencies, the limit has been raised from the current ₹54 lakh to ₹75 lakh, and ₹70 lakh to ₹95 lakh, the poll panel informed, adding that these new figures will be applicable in all the upcoming elections.

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In a press related the ECI noted that the last major revision in the expenditure limit was carried out in 2014, which was further increased by 10 per cent in 2020. “Simultaneously, the ECI formed a committee to study the cost factors, and Cost Inflation Index 2014 substantially. It also factored into the changing modes of campaigning, which is gradually shifting to virtual campaign,” the statement read.

The commission further said that the committee recommended rise in expenditure limit after considering factors such as demand from political parties in this regard, increase in the number of electors from 2014 to 2021 (834 million to 936 million, up 12.23 per cent, and rise in Cost Inflation Index from 2021 to 2022 (240 to 307, up 32.07 per cent).

“The Commission accepted the recommendations and, accordingly, the revised limits have now been notified by M/O Law, Justice and Legislative Department,” the ECI said.

According to the rulebook, a candidate can spend between ₹50 lakh and ₹70 lakh, depending on the state they are contesting the Lok Sabha election from. For all states, except Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim, a candidate can spend up to ₹70 lakh on canvassing. The cap for these three states is ₹54 lakh. For Delhi, the ceiling is ₹70 lakh and ₹54 lakh for other Union territories.

Assembly elections are due in five states: Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Two more states will poll towards the end of the year, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.