Congress asks BJP to reveal poll expenses

Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal. File photo  

Even as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asked all party workers on Saturday to fan out across the country to help the poor and vulnerable standing in bank queues to exchange their money, senior leader Kapil Sibal demanded that the BJP make public all its expenses in upcoming polls in U.P., Punjab and other states if it was serious about eliminating black money and corruption. Simultaneously, former finance minister P. Chidambaram said the government’s move had only helped touts and middlemen.

Describing the demonetisation move as another “jumla” (gimmick) for political reasons, Mr. Sibal asked the BJP to set up a Commission of Inquiry into all expenses made by it before 2014 Lok Sabha elections prior to Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, in a series of tweets, Mr. Gandhi said, “We appeal to all Congress workers to help all those who are standing in long lines outside banks in whatever capacity possible”, adding that the weak, underprivileged and elderly “need our support”. "Wherever people are standing in line, you should help them get water and help them get their currency exchanged,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sibal, questioning the Prime Minister’s absence from the country at a time when the public is facing “harassment and inconvenience,” said the decision had been taken “in haste without proper planning”.

He also asked Mr. Modi to make public all expenditure – whether spent on putting up tents and posters, public meetings, for bringing in water tanks -- on the forthcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab or anywhere else, as well as details of all cheques received. “Who gives the cheque, to whom it is given, all that should be put up on their websites,” he stressed, adding, “Only then will we understand that he is serious about it and this is not an election jumla,” he said.

Demanding a probe on all earlier poll expenses, the Congress leader said, “I would suggest that Narendra Modi ji should set up a Commission of Inquiry on all the money that was spent by the BJP before Mr. Modi became the Prime Minister.”

Mr. Sibal said when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was going to take a decision on demonetisation of pre-2005 currency in January 2014, the then BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi termed it as “anti-poor and a mockery of the poor people… The BJP had completely opposed it (at that time). Is it not a mockery with the poor people now?”

Mr Chidambaram also hit out at the government saying an “unprepared” dispensation had pushed common man to misery and despair. He said: “"The half-baked plan has benefited only touts and middlemen. Government should publish the 2012 CBDT report that advised against demonetisation.”

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 5:00:16 PM |

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