Hyderabad: In an effort to curb "money
power" in elections, poll authorities in Andhra Pradesh have
constituted special committees to monitor the expenditure of
candidates on a daily basis in the bypolls to 12 assembly
seats scheduled to be held on July 27.
"The expenditure of candidates is being monitored even
earlier by a process of getting the accounts submitted by the
candidates scrutinised by the EC observer, the district
Collector and the Returning Officer. But I would say that this
was being done only partially and we need to strengthen the
mechanism," state Chief Electoral Officer I V Subba Rao told
"So, we decided to set up a committee consisting of four
senior officers. One from the Revenue department, another from
police department and a senior official each from the
Commercial Taxes and the Income Tax department," he said.
The committee would actually go to places where public
meetings and processions are being held and assess the
expenditure incurred by each candidate.
The monitoring is done on a daily basis and they would
communicate the information to the district Collector who
sends the compiled report to the Election Commission, he said.
If the expenditure exceeds the stipulated Rs 10 lakh for
an assembly constituency, the EC has the power to debar the
candidates for a period of three years, he said.
"It is quite a stringent law and we would like that to be
enforced so that the influence of money power is reduced,"
Subba Rao said.
The special committees is said to be a first-of-its-kind
move in the country. In addition to the constitution of
expenditure monitoring committees, the upcoming bypolls have
other unique features too.
After a gap of 12 years, the EC is forced to conduct the
polling in five of the 12 seats through the ballot box system
as the number of candidates has exceeded the maximum limit of
64 candidates for using EVMs.
The existing technology does not allow the EC to conduct
the polling by EVMs if the total number of candidates in an
assembly segment is more than 64.
"We are making necessary arrangements. We are finding out
where the old ballot boxes are and if necessary we will get
some more made. We are coping with this contingency which has
arisen now," Subba Rao said.
The requirement of ballot boxes is expected to be 2,500
big boxes or about 7,000 small ballot boxes and the modalities
are being worked out, he said.
Necessary arrangements are also being made for printing
ballot papers and to train the personnel on the ballot box
system, he said.
To a query, the CEO said the EC is prepared to handle the
situation if malpractices like booth capturing that were
associated with the ballot box system occur.
The poll panel held the polls with ballot papers way back
in 1998. Perhaps in another first, a videographer and a
micro-observer, a Central Government employee, would be on
duty at every polling station in the bypolls, Subba Rao added.
The bypolls in the 12 seats are necessitated as sitting
MLAs had quit their posts in support of separate Telangana.