Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Khaira has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, demanding stern action against the latter for demanding money in crores from industrialists at a public meeting for the elections.
“According to reports appearing in the electronic media throughout the day, Badal is shown urging the business community at Jalandhar to fund SAD-BJP candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu, with crores of rupees,” Khaira said in his complaint addressed to chief election commissioner VS Sampath.
Khaira alleged that Badal also asked the businessmen present there to donate secretly without anyone knowing of this. He said it is needless to mention that the upper limit of expenditure to be incurred in the Lok Sabha election has been fixed at Rs 70 lakh.
“The actual purpose of Badal urging the business fraternity to raise crores in election fund for the SAD-BJP candidate means the ruling alliance needs much more money to fight elections than the limit of ` 70 lakh,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SAD dismissed the accusation that Badal demanded “crores of rupees” as election fund as Badal’s “casual and humorous streak”.
In a statement here, SAD general secretary Harcharan Bains described the complaint by Khaira as “hilarious in the extreme”. “Expressions like ‘a million thanks’, and ‘kot kot namaskar’ surely do not refer to a count, nor does the expression ‘crores’ used by the CM in his casual and humorous streak that seems to have offended your honest sensibility,” Bains told Khaira in a press statement.
CEO FOR IMPARTIAL COVERAGE
Punjab chief electoral officer VK Singh on Friday asked heads and representatives of regional news channels to play a key role in ensuring equal coverage to all political parties or candidates in the general elections.
Presiding over a meeting with leading regional news channels’ representatives, the CEO said the recent phenomenon of “paid news” was assuming alarming proportions as a serious electoral malpractice.
He said in case of suspected paid news, the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC), on receiving a complaint or suo motu, may issue notice to the party and candidate concerned, and ask the channel concerned to explain its position.
After verifying facts/evidence, the committee could declare such news paid news, thereby adding the advertisement expenditure in the account of the candidate or the party concerned. The person aggrieved by the decision of the state MCMC can file an appeal before the EC within 48 hours.