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வியாழன், ஏப்ரல் 28, 2011

“Shadow register” to act as yardstick for assessing poll expenses

CUDDALORE: 

             The “shadow registers” being maintained by polling officials will act as yardstick for calculating the real expenses incurred by candidates in the Assembly elections.

           Therefore, individual poll accounts of candidates should not deviate from the “shadow registers.” In case of any variation between the two, the candidates ought to correct their accounts in accordance with the shadow registers, said P. Seetharaman, Collector and District Electoral Officer.

           He told The Hindu that the “shadow registers” were being prepared based on inputs provided by at least four feeder groups such as the model code of conduct committee, flying squads, video surveillance committee and media certification and monitoring committee.

           These committees had filmed all poll-related activities such as spread of publicity materials, including flex boards, posters, graffiti, propaganda by star campaigners, public rallies, vehicle checking and seizure of unauthorised money and other articles, distribution of enticements, and, advertisements in print and electronic media. Mr. Seetharaman said that a “convergence meeting” of these committees was slated to be held in last two days of this week to consolidate the accounts in the shadow registers.

            These committees would convert all their findings into monetary terms and submit their report to the assistant expenditure observers, all accounting specialists. The Collector further noted that candidates ought to maintain three types of registers known by their colours - white register for entering day-to-day expenses; pink, for recording receipt and disbursement of monies by candidates; and, yellow, for bank accounts (specifically opened for elections as all transactions ought to be carried out through the instrumentality of cheques).

            The candidates had also been permitted to appoint “expenditure agents” for keeping their accounts. If the candidates have any doubt or objection over the expenditure valuations made in the shadow registers, the officials would prove their points through compact discs and video recordings on various occasions. Mr. Seetharaman noted that in this streamlined procedures for checking poll expenditure, another salient feature would be the “super check” to be done by people. In other words, they could be present at the time of verification of expenditure registers of the candidates, and if they so desire, they could get copies of the pages at the rate of Re. 1 a page.

            All candidates ought to submit their accounts within a month of counting of votes. Later, Mr. Seetharaman said that as the District Electoral Officer, he would give a date to the expenditure observer (deployed by the Election Commission) for perusal of accounts.

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