As per a decision taken by the Law Ministry on the recommendation of the Election Commission of India (ECI), the maximum poll expenditure limit has been hiked. Now, a candidate contesting the Lok Sabha poll can spend up to Rs 95 lakh from Rs 70 lakh, while a candidate contesting the Assembly poll can spend up to Rs 40 lakh from Rs 28 lakh.
The new expenditure limits for assembly polls will be applicable for the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. This comes in the wake of the rise in cost of inflation index and the size of the electorate.
Reportedly, the candidates contesting Assembly polls in big states can spend up to Rs 40 lakh, up from Rs 28 lakh, while candidates in smaller states can spend a maximum of Rs 28 lakh, up from Rs 20 lakh.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Thursday reviewed the Covid situation with the Union health secretary and health experts, collecting inputs on necessary safety measures to be ensured during the democratic exercise and emphasising the need for vaccination of all eligible people in five poll-bound states, sources told news agency PTI.
In a separate meeting, the poll panel discussed the law and order situation in the five states -- Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur -- with Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.
Elections are due in the five states and the Commission is expected to announce poll dates in the next few days.
Besides Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, the meeting to assess the Covid situation was also attended by AIIMS director Randeep Guleria and ICMR's Balram Bhargava, sources aware of the interactions said.
The poll panel carried out a "complete review" of the Covid status and took inputs from medical experts on "safety measures to be ensured" during campaigning and polling.
It stressed to the health secretary the need to ensure complete vaccination for all eligible persons, the sources said.
In an earlier meeting with Bhushan on December 27, the poll panel had asked him to ramp up the vaccination drive in the five states.
(With PTI inputs)
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