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No Sasti Chai-Samosas: Punjab Poll Panel to Parties

Punjabi rally-hoppers, your ‘chai-samosa’ at political rallies now needs the poll panel’s permission.

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Chai and samosa
i

Rally-hoppers rejoice!

Punjab’s election office has just ensured that you don’t get treated to sasti tea and ‘samosas’ at a politicians’ rallies. They have been asked to treat you all to at least a Rs 8-walli chai and samosas at not less than Rs 10, according to PTI.

To start with, politicians in the state have to take permission from the poll panel to even treat an attendee at a campaign rally to a very basic set of ‘chai and samosas'.

The cost of such a treat has been fixed by the EC so that politicians don’t under-report the Election Commission when submitting their poll expenditure bills and launder off the money for other purposes.

“There is a need to determine the expenditure by candidates.”
S Karuna Raju, Punjab’s chief electoral officer, to PTI

The state poll panel has come up with a rate list of 171 items, including ‘burfi’ at Rs 200 per kg, biscuits at Rs 150 per kg, bread ‘pakoras’ at Rs 10 a piece, etc, PTI reported.

A Lok Sabha candidate is permitted to spend up to Rs 70 lakh as poll expenditure.

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Come election and it is not uncommon to find villages in Punjab transform to host feasts thrown by political parties, in the name of ‘political campaigning’.

Since there are checks and balances in place by the Election Commission to stop politicians from directly buying off votes, treating people to meals and an extra deluxe helping of ‘chai-nashta’ is a smart work-around. All you have to do is fudge the expenditure numbers a bit and slip in some karara notes to prospective voters.

Given this trend, a section of the voters and clever ‘supporters’ rally-hop from one campaign fiesta to another to nab all the freebies.

And who can forget this famous episode?

No Sasti Chai-Samosas: Punjab Poll Panel to Parties
(Photo: Screengrab from Indiatoday.com article)

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