In the turmoil of the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, political parties are on the radar of government agencies financial malpractices. Surprisingly (or is it even surprising?), opposition parties are facing the wrath of the central agencies.
In this exclusive discussion between Vibes of India’s Deepal Trivedi, Janvi Soniya and Ajit Tiwari, the panellists emphasised the biases of the system and how BJP’s money management was “exceptional”.
Here are some snippets from the video discussion:
The Surat ‘catch’
During a routine monitoring by the Election Commission’s static team in the Mahidharpura neighbourhood of Surat, Rs. 74.80 lakh in cash was found in an Innova car. The other three people left the scene as the driver and another young person was being detained. VVIP passes for the Congress party were found in the vehicle. Following the discovery, the search for the secretary of the Congress is reportedly under way. After the investigation, it was revealed that the money belonged to the Congress for the campaign funds. Similar confiscation of money happened in Bardoli, which is of Rs 20 lakh belonging to AAP’s local candidate. During the prolonged investigation, the police checked every single document such as income tax returns, affidavits, etc.
The fact of the matter is that candidates cannot win an election with a directed amount of money. Every candidate has to exceed the amount of money from the given instruction by the Election Commission of India. The rise of ‘dirty’ politics which comprises corruption, money laundering, etc have become compulsions. A political party is a brand, and a brand needs marketing. People have to see the face and a message following it. No candidate can afford to remain discreet.
Why target the opposition and not the BJP?
During the present regime of the BJP and PM Modi, central agencies such as CBI, ED, etc have conducted extensive raids on the premises associated with the opposition leaders. Prior to every election, reports in the news emerge of corruption and raids on the properties of dissenters of the BJP. People generally draw conclusions that the system of independent agencies is working for the BJP and going to harass opposition parties. The same picture presents itself in the Gujarat elections as well. The money of opposition parties is being confiscated but not the BJP’s.
Is BJP an expert in money management?
In an earlier publication, the BJP reported assets worth Rs 4,847.78 crore, the biggest among all political parties, followed by the BSP at Rs 698.33 crore, and the Congress at Rs 588.16 crore. The BJP has a more resourceful source of money than any other party. There are two reasons for the BJP’s mastery in handling the finances: one, it has a strong money-management system. Second is, it has the kind of power that the Congress wielded post-independence. Government agencies are certainly going to pursue the orders from the high office.
Congress accuses the ED and BJP
Congress in its official statement has accused the ED and the central agencies of being “biased and not pursuing the BJP”. It even stated how the administration is denying permission for rallies and helicopter landings. The “permission not granted” has been witnessed by every opposition political party.
The Election Commission ‘acting strange’
The opposition parties in Gujarat have been constantly attacking the Election Commission for not announcing election dates on the provided time. The Election Commission has been under scrutiny for delaying elections, dividing them into unnecessary excessive phases, not announcing elections on time, etc. In Gujarat, the EC did not announce the dates even after the Defence Expo and three economy-booming projects inaugurated by PM Modi. Politics observers have said that this delay benefited BJP in order to gain popularity back into their pocket. The triangular tussle is getting hard on BJP.
But the question is, are central agencies ever going to pursue BJP just the way they do with the opposition parties?