The Election Commission (EC) has seized a substantial amount of Rs 1,760 crore from the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram in the run-up to the elections. This figure is remarkably seven times higher than the Rs 239 crore seized during the 2018 Assembly polls, showcasing a considerable increase in enforcement efforts. The EC credits persistent and unwavering efforts for this exponential rise in seizures.
The announcement by the EC emphasizes its commitment to ensuring free, fair, and inducement-free elections by implementing robust measures to monitor incentives and curb electoral malpractices. The EC has incorporated technology into its monitoring process through the Election Expenditure Monitoring System (ESMS), proving to be a catalyst for better coordination and intelligence sharing among central and state enforcement agencies.
Individual state-wise seizures are as follows:
– Chhattisgarh: Rs 76.9 crore, including cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals, and freebies.
– Madhya Pradesh: Rs 323.7 crore, including cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals, and freebies.
– Rajasthan: Rs 650.7 crore, including cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals, and freebies.
– Telangana: Rs 659.2 crore, including cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals, and freebies.
– Mizoram: Rs 49.6 crore, including liquor, drugs, and freebies.
The EC’s monitoring process began with field visits and sensitization of field forces between June and August. The EC held reviews with Chief Secretaries, DGPs, Excise Commissioners, DGs (Income Tax), and other senior officers of poll-going states, emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach to checking inducements. A total of 228 experienced officers have been deployed as expenditure observers, and 194 Assembly constituencies are marked as expenditure sensitive, highlighting the EC’s commitment to dealing with the menace of money power.
The EC plans to continue its close monitoring until the completion of the ongoing elections, with expectations of further increases in seizure figures.