The Election Commission of India has seized cash, liquor, precious metals, drugs and other freebies from five poll-bound states to the tune of Rs 1,760 crore.
This month, polling has concluded in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, and is scheduled to take place in Rajasthan on November 25 and in Telangana on November 30.
The seizures this time mark a seven-fold increase from 2018, when Assembly polls were last held in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana. The commission seized Rs 239.15 crore worth of freebies from these states at the time.
The latter two states account for the majority of the Commission’s seizures this year, with Rs 650.7 crore worth of inducements seized in Rajasthan and another Rs 659.2 crore in Telangana. No cash or precious metals were seized in Mizoram, but narcotics worth Rs 29.82 crore were recovered.
The panel has earmarked 194 constituencies as “expenditure sensitive” and deployed 228 officers to monitor poll-related expenses in these areas.
Seizures worth over Rs 1,400 crore were also made in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Karnataka, the last six states to hold Assembly elections. In comparison, the Election Commission had confiscated just Rs 127.4 crore worth of freebies from these states during preceding elections, The Indian Express reported.