Maximum expenditure by a candidate is capped at Tk25lakh
The Election Commission (EC) has fixed the maximum cost per voter at Tk10 for candidates running in the upcoming 11th general election.
The commission has also capped maximum expenditure by a candidate at Tk25 lakh each, which is unchanged from the last polls.
The expenditure limits were announced through a notification issued by the Election Commission on Thursday. The notification was signed by EC Joint Secretary (Election management-2) Farhad Ahmed Khan.
During the 10th general election, the maximum cost per voter for candidates had been set at Tk8.
According to the notification, the cost per voter had been increased after considering a number of factors, including the prices of commodities.
However, candidates have expressed frustration at the Tk25 lakh maximum expenditure limit, claiming it would handicap those who are running in more populated constituencies.
EC data shows that the highest number of voters is in Dhaka-19 constituency, at 747,000. At a cost per voter of Tk10, candidates in the constituency would be entitled to spend Tk74.7 lakh were it not for the Tk25 lakh maximum limit.
On the other hand, the lowest number of voters is in Jhalakathi-1 constituency, at 178,000. This entitles candidates running in the constituency to spend Tk17.8 lakh.
Reactions from MPs
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Brahmanbaria-3 MP Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury said: “The Tk25 lakh expenditure limit will have a major impact on the election, as candidates in more populated constituencies will not be able spend the same amount per voter as those who are running in less populated constituencies.”
“There are 213,973 voters in Brahmanbaria-1, as compared to 515,011 in Brahmanbaria 3. As a result, a candidate in Brahmanbaria-1 can spend Tk10 per voter, as they can spend a total of about Tk21 lakh, but a candidate in Brahmanbaria-3 can only spend Tk4.85 per voter as they can spend Tk25 lakh, not Tk51 lakh,” he added.
Gazipur-2 MP Md Zahid Ahsan Russel echoed Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury’s remarks, saying candidates running in constituencies with over 250,000 voters were at a disadvantage as they would not be able to spend the maximum Tk10 per voter.
However, Dhaka-19 MP Dr Md Enamur Rahaman said they would try to manage with the Tk25 lakh expenditure limit, even though the constituency had 747,000 voters.
“We have accepted the decision of the Election Commission. We will try to manage with the limit. As I am a ruling party MP and the EC is an independent constitutional institution, it would not be fair for me to comment about this. We have to accept their decision,” he added.
During the 9th general election, the maximum expenditure limit for candidates had been capped at Tk15 lakh. There were 81 million voters at the time, with an average cost per voter of Tk5.55.
In the 10th general election, the expenditure limit for candidates was raised to Tk25 lakh, with 91.9 million voters. The average cost per voter was Tk8.16.