Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has the responsibility to monitor expenditures made for elections, both by candidates as well as respective parties. ECI keeps track of poll expenditures through its own observers, and state and central enforcement agencies.

For Lok Sabha constituencies, candidates are restricted to Rs 95 lakh, whereas for Assembly seats, the limit stands at Rs 40 lakh. However, interestingly, there is no expenditure limit for political parties.

But in certain smaller states and Union Territories, these caps are slightly lower, with Rs 75 lakh and Rs 28 lakh being allocated for Lok Sabha and Assembly candidates, respectively.

The spending limits have undergone revisions over the years and the cap was revised last time in 2022. In 2019, the expenditure limits were set at Rs 70 lakh for Lok Sabha candidates and Rs 28 lakh for those contesting Assembly seats.

The last major revision in the election expenditure limit for candidates was carried out in 2014, which was further increased by 10 per cent in 2020. Simultaneously, the Election Commission formed a committee to study the cost factors and other related issues and make suitable recommendations.

As per ECI, the expenditure limit refers to the maximum amount a candidate can legally spend on election-related activities such as public meetings, rallies, advertisements, posters, banners, and vehicles. It encompasses all costs associated with campaigning. Following the conclusion of an election, candidates are mandated to furnish their expenditure statement to the Election Commission (EC) within 30 days.