Senior Congress leader Chaudhary Birender Singh has triggered a political controversy with his claim that a Rajya Sabha seat could be bought as he quoted a figure of Rs 100 crore citing a specific example. While the BJP latched on to his remarks and accused the Congress of selling tickets,Singh said he has been quoted totally out of the context.
Once someone told me that he had a budget of Rs 100 crore to become a Rajya Sabha MP. But when he totalled the expenditure later,he found it was Rs 80 crore and he had ended up saving Rs 20 crore. Now you think,a man who succeeds taking the membership of Rajya Sabha by spending Rs 80 crore or Rs 100 crore,what will they think about the poor, he reportedly told a function at Narwana in Jind.
As his remarks kicked up a political row,Singh said he has been quoted out of context and argued he was talking about the trend of moneybags entering politics. What I was saying was that people with money power are entering into our political system and because of this the voice of the people,especially the poor,would be weakened, he told The Indian Express. Singh is a member of the Congress Working Committee.
I merely quoted a media report which was based on the figures of the Election Commission after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. It said according to the affidavits filed by the candidates,360-odd candidates are crorepatis and out of these a dozen or so are arabpatis (billionaires). This I said was a matter of concern as certain people are in a position to get into power because of money power, he said.
Talking to reporters in Chandigarh,he said his argument was that more people with money power are entering in Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and maintained that there are a number of MPs in Rajya Sabha,who are very rich and they face no difficulty in becoming a member of the Rajya Sabha because in this age,the rich people easily enter the Upper House.
I am only saying that the voice of the poor is getting drowned due to rising influence of money in democracy, he said. Quoting the figures of rich MPs in Lok Sabha,he said on this basis,such powerful people can come even in Rajya Sabha by winning the election with the power of money.
Attacking Singh,BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Prakash Javadekar said he must be giving his own example. The Congress is in the habit of cutting deals. It has brought politics in the country to such a low level, he said.