statesman news service
MUMBAI, 28 JUNE: Risking a disqualification by the Election Commission of India, BJP&’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde has disclosed that he had spent Rs 8 crore to win the Beed seat, his home district, in the 2009 Parliament election. “I won’t mind the ECI unseating me as fresh polls are just six months away but the truth must be told to expose the use of unspecified money in election politics.”
He made it obvious that such a huge amount to win a Parliament seat has to be unaccounted wealth as it also makes a mockery of the spending restrictions imposed by the ECI for Parliament or Assembly seat. Implicit in the disclosure is the filing of poll expenses returns to the Chief Election Officer of the state is nothing short of an alleged fraud.
In February 2011, the Centre, accepting ECI&’s proposals, raised the expenditure limit for the Parliament seat by a nominee from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 40 lakh and for state Assembly from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 16 lakh.
“Poll expenses are at the root of corruption and black money. The only remedy is the government funding of elections,” he added at an event last evening, where the BJP’s chief election campaigner, Mr Narendra Modi, released a book ~ Beyond A Billion Ballots by Mr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, an ideologue of the RSS.
Mr Munde’s disclosure hardly startled the audience that took a senior MP’s confession as confirmation of what everybody knew. Mr Modi appeared engrossed in leafing through the book while former BJP president Mr Nitin Gadkari, too, was not amused at Mr Munde stating the obvious.
Mr Munde said when he fought his first Assembly election for Renapur seat in the Beed district, his total spending on poll campaign had been Rs 29,000, of which Rs 22,000 were allotted by the party and he had to contribute the remaining Rs 7,000. Because of enormous cost of standing for an election, it has became a privilege of the (black) moneyed few.
An ordinary citizen, however, good and competent, has little chance to contest as only unaccounted spending works in election politics, according to Mr Munde.
In Maharashtra, Mr Munde is acknowledged as one of the main fund managers in the BJP for his widespread contacts in trade and business. Before him, his brother-in-law Pramod Mahajan was the biggest fund raiser for the party. When the BJP-Shiv Sena combine ruled the state in 1990s, Mr Gadkari, as PWD minister, used to organise poll funds for both the allies.