Maharashtra local bodies polls: Demonetisation creates problems for political parties in fund disbursal

Political parties in Maharashtra, which are in the midst of election campaign for the upcoming polls to the local bodies, seem to have been hit by the sudden demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, as it has affected the disbursal of election funds to party offices.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 10, 2016, 21:57 PM IST

Mumbai: Political parties in Maharashtra, which are in the midst of election campaign for the upcoming polls to the local bodies, seem to have been hit by the sudden demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, as it has affected the disbursal of election funds to party offices.

The move has also put some candidates in tight spot, who were otherwise aiming to lure voters with high-value notes, sources said.

192 municipal councils and 20 nagar panchayats are going to polls in the state between November 27 and January 8.

A senior functionary of a political party requesting anonymity said that demonetisation has affected the disbursal of election funds for party units at the district and local level.
"The move has hit the political parties as well as the candidates, most of whom woo voters with cash," he said.

Hailing the Centre's decision to demonetise the notes, state Minister for Finance and Planning Sudhir Mungantiwar said the move will put an end to "politics" of some people, who eye power by buying the votes.

Maharashtra State Election Commissioner J S Saharia had on October 17 last month announced a mega civic election programme for 212 civic bodies that covers 25 of the 36 districts of Maharashtra.

He had said that in order to ensure free and fair polls, the State Election Commission of Maharashtra (SECM) will deploy videography surveillance units, flying squads, men at check posts to keep a check on movement of cash and liquor and gift items. It would also have complaint redressal cell.

As per the manual for conduct of elections, the SECM deputes vigilance teams at state's border check posts and entry points of various civic bodies to check movement of any large amount of unaccounted cash.

As per the election rules, candidates contesting different categories of civic bodies are allowed to spend funds between Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakhs. However, there is no spending limit for political parties.