Though most of the candidates in the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls have yet to submit their expenditure details with the Election Commission of India (ECI), many who have submitted details till February 2 (two days before the February 4 polling) have claimed they were able to spend much less than the Rs 28 lakh ceiling set by the ECI.
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From Doaba region, around 30 candidates have submitted their expenditure details till February 2, which show they have not even spent half the amount allowed by the ECI. Some from the main political parties like Congress, BJP, SAD and AAP claimed they were able to spend just one-third of that.
More door-to-door campaigning and fewer big rallies coupled with a limited period of 28 days for campaigning were among reasons cited by the candidates for their low expenditiure.
As per details uploaded on the website of Chief Election Officer of Punjab, over two dozen candidates from Doaba region, which has 23 Assembly segments including nine in Jalandhar, seven in Hoshiarpur, four in Kapurthala and three in Naawanshahr, have provided expenditure details till February 2. Out these, only 10 have spent either close to Rs 10 lakh or above while the rest spent something between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 9 lakh.
As per ECI directions, candidates were required to show their election expenditure thrice before the election on February 4 – on January 26, January 30 and February 2. Even after the elections, candidates are required to submit details of expenditure till counting of votes so as to include money they spend on thanksgiving and dinner functions for supporters.
The candidates who have shown the lowest expenditure are AAP’s Dr Sanjiv Sharma (Jalandhar Central) who has spent Rs 4.13 lakh, Congress’s Pargat Singh (Jalandhar Cantt) who spent Rs 5.36 lakh, Congress rebel from Banga, Tarlochan Singh Sund (Rs 5.49 lakh), Congress nominee from Banga Satnam Singh Kainth Rs (5.49 lakh) and Upinderjit Kaur, SAD candidate from Sultanpur Lodhi, who has spent Rs 5.75 lakh.