The Election Commission announced on Monday that they have so far confiscated over 1,760 crore worth of gifts, drugs, cash, spirits and precious metals intended to sway voters in the five states holding elections.
According to the poll panel, the amount of money seized after the polls were declared on October 9 has exceeded by seven times (to the tune of Rs 239.15 crore) the amount seized during the 2018 assembly elections in these states.
While Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram have already had assembly elections, Rajasthan and Telangana will hold their elections on November 25 and November 30, respectively.
In the last six state assembly elections in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Karnataka, seizures of more over ₹ 1,400 crore were made, according to an EC statement. This is eleven times the amount of seizures that occurred in the states’ previous assembly elections.
An EC official said that Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar had emphasised inducement-free elections to provide a fair playing field for all candidates and parties when he announced the poll timetable for the five states.
The Election Expenditure Monitoring System (ESMS), which the commission incorporated into the monitoring process this time around, is proving to be a catalyst as it brings a variety of federal and state law enforcement agencies together for improved coordination and intelligence-sharing, according to the statement.