Samosas, biryani, tea: District poll panels fix prices for campaign expenses

With polls to elect the 18th Lok Sabha approaching, district poll panels are fixing the rates for expenses for food, vehicles, and advertisements as part of the election expenditure monitoring process

March 29, 2024 12:10 pm | Updated March 30, 2024 12:31 pm IST - New Delhi

What’s on the election menu? District poll panels have fixed the rates for campaign expenses as part of the election expenditure monitoring process.

What’s on the election menu? District poll panels have fixed the rates for campaign expenses as part of the election expenditure monitoring process. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Candidates in Punjab's Jalandhar can spend ₹15 for a cup of tea and the same price for a samosa they offer to people during public meetings and campaign trails in the Lok Sabha elections.

However, those in Madhya Pradesh's Mandla can spend ₹7 for a cup of tea and another ₹7.50 for a piece of samosa, considered a staple snack in many parts of the country.

With polls to elect the 18th Lok Sabha fast approaching, district poll panels are fixing the rates for expenses as part of the election expenditure monitoring process.

Candidates will have to manage their expenditures within the prescribed limit.

These rate cards often become a subject of "meme-fest" on social media about the prices not being in sync with the current inflation level.

In most states, including Andhra Pradesh, the expenditure ceiling for a Lok Sabha candidate is set at ₹95 lakh. However, in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim, the limit is slightly lower at ₹75 lakh per candidate. Similarly, for Union Territories, the expenditure ceiling ranges from ₹75 lakh to ₹95 lakh per candidate, depending on the region.

In Jalandhar, chole bhature has been capped at ₹40 while mutton and chicken have been priced at ₹250 and ₹500 per kg respectively. Desserts like dhodha (₹450 per kg) and ghee pinni (₹300 per kg) are also on the menu, besides lassi and nimbu pani priced at ₹20 and ₹15 per glass respectively.

The cost of tea is low at ₹5 in the rate card of Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh, but the samosa is priced higher at ₹10. The Balaghat rate card also has idli, sambhar vada and poha-jalebi priced at ₹20, while the cost for dosa and upma has been fixed at ₹30.

In Thoubal district of violence-hit Manipur, tea, samosa, kachori, khajur (dates) and gaja (dessert) have been priced at ₹10 each.

Candidates in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district, will have to stick to ₹5 for black tea and ₹10 for milk tea. The list has a wider spread of non-vegetarian items with duck and pork priced at ₹300 and ₹400 per kg respectively. Chicken (broiler) and fish like rohu, mrigal and sareng, are also on the list.

In Chennai, the price of tea has been raised from ₹10 to ₹15 and coffee from ₹15 to ₹20, while the rate of chicken biryani has been reduced from ₹180 to ₹150 per packet compared to 2019.

In the expenditure card for Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida/Greater Noida), vegetarian thali comes for ₹100, a samosa or a cup of tea for ₹10, kachori for ₹15, a sandwich for ₹25, and a kilogram of jalebi for ₹90 per kg.

North Goa candidates can have batata vada on the menu at a cost of ₹15, the same as that for a samosa. The tea has been capped at ₹ 15 while coffee can cost ₹20.

The rate card for Haryana's Jind offers the candidates to hire a tandoor for ₹300 and it also features dal makhni(priced at ₹130), mixed vegetables (₹130) and matar paneer (₹160). Breads like butter nan, missi roti and plain roti are also on the platter besides desserts including kaju katli and gulab jamun.

While parties and candidates often offer workers and voters liquor, none of the rate cards mention alcohol.

Prices fixed for vehicles, flowers, pamphlets

Other heads which find mention in the rate cards range from expensive infrastructure, such as helipads, luxury vehicles, and farmhouses, to miscellaneous items like flowers, cooler, tower ACs and sofa.

The rate cards have also prescribed the ceiling on rates for hiring of different vehicles for campaigning right from a Tata Safari or Scorpio to a Honda City or Ciaz or a bus to ferry to public to rally grounds.

Rates have also been set for rose garlands, marigold garlands and bouquet by some poll panels while some have included heads like party merchandise including caps and flags.

The rate cards also list permissible rates for hiring venues and accommodation. The expenditure includes the spending for public meetings, rallies, advertisements, hoardings, pamphlets, flexis, campaign material and all other election-related work.

There is a ceiling on campaigning funds for individual candidates in the electoral fray, but no cap on the money political parties can spend for electioneering. According to the revised guidelines issued by the ECI, the maximum permissible expenditure for campaigning in a Lok Sabha constituency varies across different States and Union Territories.

Section 77 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 says candidates are expected to keep an account of expenditure incurred on the elections from the "date on which he has been nominated" till the "date of declaration of the result".

Polling for the 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases, starting with 102 in the first phase on April 19. The votes will be counted on June 4.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.