Expenses upto Rs 20,000 can be made in cash: EC

New Delhi: Candidates fighting polls can now make payments upto Rs 20,000 in cash for campaign expenditure unlike in the past when the Election Commission directed them to spend all the money through cheques.

The EC has considered this amount to be "minor expenses" and issued a notification to all registered political parties and Chief Election Officers of the states to avoid any confusion when it comes to dealing with "petty expenses".

"Some political parties have asked for clarification, specifying the limits of minor cash expenditure. It is hereby clarified that if the amount payable by candidate to any person or entity for any item of expenditure does not exceed Rs 20,000 during the entire process of election, then such expenditure can be incurred by cash by withdrawing it from the bank account opened for the purpose of election," the EC said in its recent notification.

"All other payments are to be made by account payee Cheque from the said bank account," the notification said.

The EC also said that if flags, caps, mufflers bear the name of the candidate, then the expenses will be added to the candidates` accounts and in case such items bear the name of the political party then expenses would be borne by it.

Any personal or private vehicle, if sports a flag or banner "for the benefit of any candidate" then this shall be included in the expenses of the candidate, the EC said in the new instructions.

The EC also clarified that if a district functionary of a political party "himself is a candidate, contesting from the same district and such vehicle is sued for his movement in the constituency from where he is contesting, or such vehicle is used for campaign for any particular candidate(s), then the hiring charges of the vehicle shall be included in the accounts of the candidate using the vehicle for campaign purpose."

The EC had earlier mandated opening of separate poll accounts and maintenance of shadow registers for all candidates to keep a check on illegal expenditure in the electoral process.