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EC issues notices to Bittu, Ayali
LAVISH rallies, king-size hoardings and dinner parties in high-end hotels — the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal is leading the expenditure chart in the Ludhiana constituency. As per the records of the election office, the SAD has till now spent Rs 54.77 lakh on campaigning for Manpreet Singh Ayali.
In its expenditure details, the SAD claims that it has spent the majority of amount on its rallies followed by advertising and food and snacks.
After the SAD, it is the Congress which has incurred expenses of Rs 11.08 lakh till now while the Aam Aadmi Party has shown expenditure of Rs 7.66 lakh for campaigning of H S Phoolka.
Independent candidate Simarjit Singh Bains spent Rs 7.50 lakh before filing nomination papers.
At an individual level, SAD candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali and Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu have claimed that they have not spent more than Rs 2.5 lakh till now on their campaigning. As per the expenditure registers maintained by both parties, they have spent Rs 2 to 2.5 lakh till now with less than 15 days to go for voting.
However, the Election Commission late Friday issued notices to Bittu and Ayali and asked them to reply within 48 hours. The inspection of their records was done late Thursday and it showed a complete mismatch.
While as per election officials, Ayali has till now spent more than Rs 15 lakh, Bittu too has spent Rs 11.80 lakh. Discrepancy was also found in the records of AAP candidate H S Phoolka who claimed that he spent only Rs 3.5 lakh but poll officials recorded Rs 7.10 lakh.
However, Phoolka later accepted that expenditure was more than Rs 7 lakh and thus was not issued any notice. Similarly, Independent candidate Simarjit Singh Bains initially showed Rs 2.5 lakh as expenditure and later accepted that it was more than Rs 8 lakh and was not issued any notice.
Talking to Newsline, Additional Deputy Commissioner Isha Kalia said, “Notices have been issued to candidates whose records did not match with our records.”