Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde has stoked a controversy by his candid admission about spending Rs 8 crore on his 2009 Lok Sabha campaign,with Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil demanding that the Election Commission take cognizance and decide on whether to allow him to contest again.
Munde also openly dared the Election Commission to act against him for his remark and sought state funding of elections to check use of black money.
“I spent Rs 29,000 when I contested my first Assembly poll in 1980. But had to spend Rs 8 crore for my last (2009 Lok Sabha) election,” Munde,BJP’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha,said at a book release function yesterday in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari.
“I hope no Election Commission official is present among the audience. Even if an Election Commission authority is present six more months are to go for the Lok Sabha polls. Even if a case is filed,so be it,” he said.
Munde said only state funding could check use of black money in the election process.
Munde asked Modi,BJP’s newly appointed election campaign committee chief,to retrieve black money stashed away in banks abroad if he became the Prime Minister.
“Then he need not levy Income Tax on the people for the next five years,” he said.
Reacting to the BJP leader’s remarks,Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil demanded that the poll panel take note of it and decide whether such candidates should be allowed to contest in future.
“The EC should take the statement seriously. The poll panel should also decide on whether to allow such candidates to contest elections again,” the NCP leader said.
In a lighter vein,he went on to add,” Munde should be congratulated as he spoke the truth.”
The Union Law Ministry had in February 2011 raised the maximum limit on expenses that can be incurred by a candidate contesting Lok Sabha poll from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 40 lakh. Munde’s admitted expenditure on his poll campaign is many times more than the permissible limit.
EC should cognizance of Munde’s poll expense remarks: govt
The government on Friday demanded that the Election Commission should take cognizance of BJP leader Gopinath Munde’s comments that he had spent around Rs 8 crore in the last Lok Sabha elections against the prescribed limit of Rs 25 lakh.
“If Munde has gone over the Rs 25 lakh limit,it is for him to explain to the Election Commission,and the Commission to take cognizance of it. If Munde has said he has spent Rs 7 to 8 crores,it would be proper the EC asks him. It is in the
nation’s interest,and the responsibility of the EC,” Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said.
Munde,an MP from Beed and BJP’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha,was speaking at a function to launch the book ‘Beyond a Billion Ballots’ penned by Vinay Sahastrabuddhe.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari also were present at the function.
To questions on whether political parties should be covered under the RTI Act,Tewari said,”The intent of RTI Act was not to cover political parties and it has been explicitly stated in the Act.”