January 7, 2017 8:09:00 pm
Congress leader M Shashidhar Reddy on Saturday expressed apprehension that the BJP-led NDA government may divert bank notes to poll-bound States to gain unfair electoral advantage, and sought intervention of the Election Commission to curb “such misuse of power”.
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In a letter to Election Commission (EC), Reddy, also a former Vice-Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said that a demand for Rs 10,000 crore in smaller denomination was made by the Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu in a November 18 letter to the Centre.
He noted that Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is a part of NDA as a pre-poll ally, with two of its MPs as Ministers in the Government at the Centre.
“If this is what an ally of the ruling NDA could demand, it would not be difficult to imagine what the BJP itself could do to divert more bank notes to the crucial poll-bound states,” Reddy said in the letter, released at a press conference here.
“This will give the ruling BJP an unfair advantage in the existing climate of monumental mismanagement in the implementation of demonetisation, which left the people cash-starved,” he said.
There is, therefore, an urgent need for intervention of the EC to ensure that there is no such “misuse of power” by the ruling BJP in the States going for elections soon, he said.
Reddy noted that the model code of conduct has come into effect on January 4 with the announcement of poll schedule in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.
“However, the measures to deal with exigencies of the post-demonetisation phase in these poll-bound states could well be utilised by the BJP to take steps which would not appear to violate the poll code in any way, even while misusing power to manipulate the supply of bank notes to the poll-bound states,” he alleged.
The EC, Reddy said, should step in now to prevent “such a blatant misuse of power since the election code in its present format has not factored in the possible actions in the unprecedented post-demonetisation phase, failing which the EC could be found to commit monumental blunder.”
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