New Delhi, Jan 4: It is an open secret-- elections in India are won by money and muscle power. However, that has not deterred the Election Commission of India from continuing with its fight against large-scale use of money and muscle power by the political parties to win polls.
On Wednesday, while announcing the dates for the upcoming assembly polls in five states, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said, "The ECI will ensure level playing field for inclusive, free and fair elections, by curbing muscle power and abuse of money."
He added, "There will be strict expenditure monitor mechanism to curb black money."
During the press briefing to announce the election dates, the CEC said candidates will have to open bank accounts.
"All expenses above Rs 20,000 will have to be made through the bank accounts and through cheques only."
"Kiosks/bastas set up by candidates will be deemed to be set up by candidates. The expenses incurred for setting up kiosks would have to be included in the election expenditure by candidates," Zaidi added.
The elections for the five states--Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand --will begin on February 4. Counting of the votes will take place on March 11.