POLITICS

Angered By RBI Response, EC Asks It To Comply With Its Order Of Relaxing Cash Limits For Poll Candidates

It has reminded the central bank of its constitutinal mandate to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections.

30/01/2017 10:44 AM IST | Updated 30/01/2017 11:14 AM IST
Amit Dave / Reuters

The Election Commission has asked the Reserve Bank to reconsider its proposal to allow poll candidates in upcoming state assembly elections to withdraw up to Rs 2 lakh a week in cash, after RBI rejected the proposal, according to media reports.

"The EC has expressed serious concerns about the cursory manner in which the issue has been dealt with and it appears that the RBI has not realised the gravity of the situation," the poll panel reportedly said in a letter addressed to RBI governor Urjit Patel, Mint reported.

"Therefore, it is reiterated that it is the constitutional mandate of the Commission to conduct free and fair elections and to provide level-playing field to all candidates. In order to facilitate proper conduct of elections, it is imperative that directions issued by the Commission are complied with," the order said.

EC had asked RBI last week to relax the cash withdrawal limits for poll candidates from the existing Rs 24,000 a week, to allow candidates a level playing field and access to money on their campaigns. According to EC, even part of the expenses is incurred through cheques, small expenses would have to be paid in cash.

"The issue is further compounded in rural areas where banking facilities are not available or are negligible," it said.

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