Taking the cue from the Election Commission of India (ECI), the State Election Commission of Maharashtra (SECM) has also made it mandatory for candidates contesting the 10 municipal corporations, 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis to open separate bank accounts for poll expenses.
Disclosing this to newspersons yesterday, SECM Election Commissioner J S Saharia stated that all the contesting candidates will have to maintain such separate bank accounts and submit details of election related expenditure incurred by them to District Collector, by their well wishers and organisations within 30 days of the elections getting over.
If the candidates fail to do so within 30 days, if elected they stand to be disqualified. If they lose they are debarred from contesting future elections. In the case of political parties they will have to submit the details of the election expenditure incurred to the District Collector within 60 days of the elections getting over. If they fail to do so the political parties stand to be deregistered. Saharia further drew the attention of the candidates and political parties to the recent Supreme Court verdict that bans use of caste, religion or language to seek votes in the elections.
The SECM Election Commissioner clarified that however there is no limit imposed on the election related expenditure incurred by political parties. The expenditure limit for candidates in A and A-Plus category municipal corporations like Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is Rs 5 lakh, B category municipal corporations it is Rs 4 lakhs,
C category municipal corporation – Rs 4 lakh, D category municipal corporations it is Rs 3 lakhs. For candidates contesting Zilla Parishad elections the expenditure limit is Rs 3 lakh and for candidates contesting Panchayat Samiti elections it is Rs 2 lakhs.
Replying to queries, Saharia disclosed that the coordinating committee headed by the respective District Collector and Municipal Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation in each district going to the civic polls will enforce the Model Code of Conduct with the help of the police, income tax, state excise, coast guard and other concerned departments. He said that all Exit and Opinion Polls in the poll bound districts and civic body areas will be banned from the midnight of February 14.
Taking note of the political parties and candidates using Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and others for campaigning, Saharia stated that the coordinating committee shall keep a close watch on the election campaigning on the social media.