The Election Commission is working hard to ensure a level-playing field for candidates by curtailing expenditure, but candidates of established political parties seem to find ingenious ways to beat the rules. On the last day for filing nominations for the second phase of polling on Saturday, many new faces were spotted near the office of the returning officer of Vijayawada Parliamentary Constituency armed with nomination papers. Enquiries revealed that the official nominees of the Congress and the TDP had readied these ‘dummy’ candidates and got them to file nominations as Independents. The deal? Simple: each Independent gets permission to use a certain number of vehicles and a certain number of polling agents in the polling booths. The candidates of the main political parties will make use of them, effectively using more facilities than they are permitted. Some poll expenditure will also be ‘distributed’ in the name of these Independents.