The Congress alleged Wednesday that cash worth Rs 1.8 crore was seized in a midnight raid on the convoy of Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu and state BJP president Tapir Gao Tuesday, hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in the state today morning.
A press release by the party stated that a midnight raid on the convoy of Khandu, Arunachal Deputy CM Chowna Mein and BJP’s Arunachal president Tapir Gao has “found Rs 1.8 crore in stacks of hard cash that exposes the brazen corruption and poll violation as Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a rally in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh at 10:00 am today”. Gao is BJP candidate from West Arunachal.
Dismissing the allegations, Gao said the cash was recovered from the private car of BJP candidate from Mebo constituency, Dr Dangi Perme, and that it does not belong to the party. “Pema Khandu and I are not involved. The money belonged to Dangi Perme and an ex-MLA,” he said.
Demanding the resignation of Khandu and Gao, the Congress said the “sensational ‘Cash for votes’ scandal” has exposed the BJP. “Was this cash reportedly transferred for PM Modi’s morning rally in Pasighat today? Is it not a clear cut case of ‘Chowkidar’ becoming ‘Chor’?” it asked.
Khandu has refuted the report and alleged that ‘cash for votes’ is practised by the Congress. “Investigation under Election Commission will reveal all the details. We have got the info that it (cash) has been recovered from a BJP candidate’s car,” ANI quoted him as saying.
A purported video shows the cash being counted by officers in the presence of the Election Commission. The Congress has accused the BJP of poll violation and a breach of the Model Code of Conduct. Lok Sabha elections and Assembly elections will be held simultaneously in the state on April 11. Results will be announced on May 23.
Arunachal Pradesh has a 60-member Legislative Assembly. The incumbent BJP is on the backfoot with at least 19 politicians — including former state ministers, legislators and prominent local leaders — having joined the Congress since December.