Travel abroad to seek electoral support is poll expense, says EC

New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) The Election Commission said on Saturday that expenditure incurred by candidates on their travel and stay abroad to seek support of Indians staying abroad as part of election campaign will have to be included in their accounts of election expenses.

In a release, the commission clarified that seeking votes of overseas electors by going abroad by the candidates or their agents or party leaders was not prohibited under the law, and as part of an election campaign, party leaders and candidates may travel to overseas countries for the purposes of canvassing to seek votes of the overseas electors residing in those countries.

“In this context…all expenditure incurred by those candidates, their agents or party leaders on their travel, boarding, lodging, etc., in those countries would be deemed to be the expenditure incurred or authorized by the candidates concerned in connection with their election,” it said.

The commission also clarified that any inducement to overseas electors by way of air tickets or any other allurements, in cash or kind, to come to India for the purpose of voting would amount to the electoral offence of “bribery”.

“The above clarifications of law by the commission will equally apply in relation to all elections to the house of the people and state legislative assemblies in future,” the release said.

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