Polling expenses have doubled in five years: Official

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 02, 2013 06:10 hrs

Agartala, Feb 2 (IANS) The budget for the Feb 14 assembly elections in Tripura has more than doubled compared to the last polls in 2008, an official said here Saturday.

"The budget to conduct the assembly elections was Rs.8 crore in the 2008 assembly polls in Tripura. For the Feb 14 elections, it would be Rs.20 crore," Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashutosh Jindal told reporters here.

He said: "As Tripura has 60 assembly segments (seats), per assembly constituency, election management spending would be Rs.33.33 lakh."

The steep rise in polling expenses is caused, in the main, by the hike in price of paper, increased transportation costs, which also push up the cost of bringing paramilitary troopers for security during the polls, and the hike in allowances to officials involved in the process.

The maximum limit of per candidate expenditure stipulated by the Election Commission in three poll-bound northeastern states is Rs.8 lakh.

The CEO said that the Election Commission has appointed one expenditure observer for each district to oversee the expenses of the candidates and their parties, and to monitor any illegal monetary deals.

The official said that during the 2008 assembly elections, 37 candidates of various parties and independents have been disqualified; they have been barred from contesting elections for six years.

Besides Left-ruled Tripura (Feb 14), two more northeastern states -- Meghalaya and Nagaland -- will go to polls Feb 23.

Results of all three states' assembly polls will be announced Feb 28.

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