Bhayandar: While the State Election Commission (SEC) is keep a close watch on election expenses by all the political parties, sources claim that the main political parties like the Shiv Sena, BJP, Congress and NCP will spend over Rs 15 crore in the upcoming MBMC elections to be held on August 20.
According to a Free Press Journal report, in order to keep a hawk’s eye on the poll expenditure in the run-up to the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) elections, the State Election Commission (SEC) has constituted special teams comprising expert observers and auditors at each of the eight returning offices to monitor the day-to-day expenses incurred by the candidates and their spending pattern.
“As per the directions of the SEC, five officials from the Income Tax department will be deputed to keep a close watch on transactions,” confirmed civic chief Dr Naresh Gite. Besides this, the candidates are bound to open fresh bank accounts exclusively for meeting poll-related expenditure, of which a day-to-day statement has to be submitted to the concerned returning officer in the prescribed format from the day of filing nomination papers, reports FPJ.
While the spending limit of each candidate has been capped at Rs 7 lakh, clarity continued to elude the process of uploading and viewing expenditure details on the True Voter app which envisages transparency, as senior poll personnel attached to the technical wing of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) chose to remain unreachable. This despite several telephonic attempts to source authentic information.
Apart from locating polling booths and searching names in the voter list, the True Voter mobile application also has an interesting feature which enables the electorate to keep a tab on the poll expenses incurred by the candidates. The officials are doing everything to make sure the polls are graft-free, reports FPJ.
However, political parties have found out or managed their own innovative ways to hoodwink and sidestep the watchful gaze of the SEC.
According to gossip, BJP MLA Narendra Mehta – who is the main fundraiser and financier for the BJP unit in Mira Bhayandar has accumulated or collected a corpus of Rs 8-10 crore towards MBMC poll expenses for the BJP. The Shiv Sena is a close second and its estimated poll expense budget is around Rs 6-8 crore. Figures for the Congress and NCP are not yet known, as these parties figure 3rd and 4th in the list.
with inputs from Free Press Journal