The Election Commission (EC) sources on Monday told The Daily Guardian that Bihar Assembly election dates can be announced this week. Along with this, there will also be a by-election for one seat of the Lok Sabha in the state and also for 64 seats of recently vacated Assembly seats in several states. As per the sources, the EC is putting its efforts to complete the election process and all phases of voting and counting before Dhanteras festival. This time, one and half times more the number of polling stations will be created in the state. Along with this, limits on election expenditures will also be increased as the party workers need a sanitizer, mask, liquid soap, PPE kit, thermal screening device, etc.
The recommendation of the Election Commission has reached the Union Ministry of Law and Justice. Rule 90 of Election Management Rules 1961 will have to be amended to implement these recommendations. Now it is time for the government to approve this amendment. For every candidate in the Assembly elections, the expenses of election campaigning and management will be increased from Rs 28 lakh to Rs 30 lakh 80 thousand (an increase of ten percent). According to sources, BJP along with many other political parties of Bihar, also talked about increasing the expenditure in the past
by applying in the EC.
Bihar elections will also be the first litmus test of the guidelines released last month according to which if the candidate files nomination papers, only two people can go with him instead of five. The roadshow will have only five vehicles with the candidate. There will be only three workers in the house-to house campaign fully equipped with a corona safety kit. There will be smaller gatherings instead of larger election rallies with social as well as physical distance.
According to EC’s manual and SOPs, the total spending limit is also fixed. For example, out of the total spending limit, 34% can be spent on vehicles for election management and campaigning, 23% on publicity tools, 13% on publicity rallies, 7% on publicity in electronic and print media. Apart from this,
4% can be spent on banner posters, hoardings and leaflets and 3% for coming to the field. The tenure of the current Assembly will end in Bihar on November 29. President’s rule will be imposed if the election process is not completed by November 28 in the state.