Should poll expense bar be raised?

GN Bureau | January 28, 2014



The election commission is planning to tell the government to raise the limit of campaign expenses allowed for candidates. [Read the Indian Express report here: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/raise-election-expenses-bar-30-50-ec-to-tell-govt/]

The limit was revised in 2009, and again in 2011. There is of course some merit in the argument that the limit needs to be hiked along with the rising inflation. Let’s be pragmatic, those in favour say, fighting elections is a costly business.

However, the counterargument is that the rationale for the limit itself (whatever figure it might be) is to provide a level-playing field, so that a candidate with moneybags does not have undue advantage. It would be a drastic measure, then, to raise it for the third time within the past five years. As for pragmatism, we have pointed on the basis of an Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) analysis [One Kejriwal move Raje & Co will not copy-cat: http://governancenow.com/news/regular-story/one-kejriwal-move-raje-co-will-not-copy-cat] that the average expenditure reported in the latest assembly elections was barely 55 percent of the limit.

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