Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to direct RBI to relax the limit on withdrawal of funds from banks to enable candidates and political parties to contest the Assembly polls in a democratic environment. In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, Amarinder said given the time constraint, the matter needed the urgent attention of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the RBI to facilitate fair play of democratic processes.
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With the existing RBI norms allowing only Rs 24,000 withdrawal a week from savings account and Rs one lakh from current account, it was not possible for the candidates to defray their expenditure given the two weeks they would have for campaigning, from January 21 (when final list will be announced by EC after scrutiny of nominations) to February 2(the last date for electioneering), he wrote in the letter. Amarinder pointed out that the nominated candidates in each constituency were expected to incur expenditure on their respective campaign as per the limits prescribed by the Election Commission, which necessitates that the expenditure be legitimate and properly accounted.
However, as a result of the RBI limits, the candidates are unable to meet the expenditure even within the prescribed limits from their respective accounts, he said. He urged the Election Commission to direct the RBI to relax the restrictions for “validly nominated candidates” to enable them to withdraw the required money from their account within the prescribed limits of expenditure as per ECI guidelines.