Hindustan Times

To monitor election-related expenditure of candidates in fray and misuse of money power in the Lok Sabha elections, the UT election department has appointed shadow observers. One such observer will be attached with every political party and will be tasked with keeping a close watch on expenditure of that party's candidate.

They will work in tandem with the expenditure observers appointed by the Election Commission of India (ECI). UT deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer Mohammed Shayin said that the step had been taken to curb the misuse of money power during the elections.

"Each shadow observer will monitor the expenditure of their respective candidate on daily basis and would maintain a separate account register, the figures of which will be matched with the details provided by the candidate to the election expenditure monitoring committee," he added.

He added that they would write to the EC, recommending action against erring candidates if any discrepancies are found.The ceiling of expenditure for each candidate has been fixed at Rs. 54 lakh.

Besides, the election department has also decided to form flying squads, static surveillance teams, accounting teams and video surveillance team to check distribution of cash or any other bribe among electors.In the past, candidates have faced allegations of excessive spending and bribing the voters by way of distributing liquor and other freebees.

According to the report of National Election Watch of 2009 Lok Sabha election, as many as 14 candidates contested in Chandigarh of which 12 submitted details of their election expenditure. In last election, the average expense per candidate for the city was Rs. 3.6 lakh and the then maximum expense limit per candidate was Rs. 14 lakh. Pawan Kumar Bansal, who won the elections, had spent around Rs. 1.5 lakh.

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