Don’t attend community kitchen: EC to candidates

In order to keep a check on illegal expenditure during polls, the Election Commission has issued fresh directives.

New Delhi: In order to keep a check on
illegal expenditure during polls, the Election Commission has
issued fresh directives refraining candidates from attending
"community kitchens" or `bhoj` during campaigning.
The EC`s directive has come into force with immediate
effect as it has asked the Chief Electoral Officer of Haryana
to implement the order for the October 13 Lok Sabha bypolls in

The order will also be valid for the assembly polls in
Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and
Manipur next year.

"In order to bring purity in the election process, the
Commission hereby directs that if any contesting candidate
attends such community kitchen (in whatever name it is called)
either organised by him or by any other person to entertain
the electors, the entire expenditure on such functions will be
treated as his election expenses and added to his account,"
the EC order said.
"It is reported to the Commission that community
kitchens, known in local terms as `preetibhoj`, `36
biradariyon ka khana`, `gaon zeemana`, `saya` among others are
being organised during the period of election campaign and
many electors are entertained with free food at such kitchens.

"...since the period happens to be campaign period of the
ongoing bye-election (in Hisar) and the model code of conduct
is in force, the contesting candidates should refrain from
attending such functions, even though such type of community
kitchens may be a convention in the area," the EC said.

In a case where the candidate attends such a community
kitchen, he/she will have to reflect the entire expenditure of
such an event as his expenditure on the shadow register
mandated by the EC to be maintained in this regard.

The EC has activated its Election Expenditure Monitoring
(EEM) cell set up last year when it had announced a slew of
measures to keep a check on use of blackmoney.


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