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ECI To Scan By-Election Expenses

IMPHAL, Jan 28: Even as the number of candidates for the forthcoming by-election to the Konthoujam assembly constituency has reached three with another joining the fray on the last day of filing nomination papers today, the Election Commission of India has taken up stringent measures to ensure financial transparency with regard to poll-related expenditures of the candidates.

The latest individual to file for the by-poll today is Khangembam Ranjit of Khumbong Mamang Leikai. Proposed by 10 people, Ranjit submitted his nomination as an Independent candidate.

The scrutiny is to be conducted tomorrow.

Candidates, who are contesting the by-election to the 18-Konthoujam AC slated to be held on February 14 will have to deposit their respective election expenditure through bank ac- counts and utilize them after withdrawing from the bank.

To monitor the election expenditure, a control room which would be operational round the clock is to be set up.

In a letter dated January 24, 2011, the Election Commission of India has instructed the Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur that the mechanism introduced for Election Expenditure Monitoring in the last General elections to Bihar Legislative Assembly shall also be applicable for the by-election to 18-Konthoujam Legislative Assembly.

As per the mechanism, Expenditure Micro Observers, Video Surveillance Teams, Video Viewing Teams, Video teams for tracking illegal cash transactions, Accounting teams, Media Expenditure Monitoring teams, Expenditure Monitoring Control Room with 24/7 hours service should be appointed or constituted.

It is said that the maximum limit of election expenses that the Commission has approved in an election in respect of Manipur State Legislative Assembly is Rs 5 lakh.

In order to facilitate monitoring of election expenditure, the Commission has also directed that each candidate shall open a separate bank account for election expenditure. The account shall be opened at least one day before the date on which the candidate files his/her nomination papers before the Returning Officer (RO) and the account number of the bank shall be communicated by the candidate in writing to the RO.

All election expenditure shall be made by the candidate from this bank account irrespective of the source of funding and a certified copy of the account statement of this bank account shall be furnished by the candidate to the DEO along with the statement of the account of expenditure maintained by him/her at the time of filing of the expenditure statement.

Acting on the instruction of the Election Commission, State’s Chief Electoral Officer has instructed Deputy Commissioner/DEO, Imphal West for taking up necessary action for compliance.

Meanwhile, along with Election Commission appointing L Chuango, IAS and Imokba Jamir, IRS as General   Observer and Expenditure Observer respectively, the two officials arrived at Imphal today. On the other hand, in connection with the by-election, a meeting to be chaired by CEO, Manipur and attended by representatives of political parties has been convened at the conference hall of Old Secretariat at around 11 am tomorrow.  Central Para-Military forces are to be deployed in all the 28 polling stations of the 18-Konthoujam Assembly Constituency to ensure smooth conduct of the by-election.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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