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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Munde's Rs. 8cr poll expense remark under EC scanner

PTI  New Delhi, June 29, 2013
First Published: 11:02 IST(29/6/2013) | Last Updated: 22:46 IST(29/6/2013)

The remarks of senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde that he had spent around Rs. 8 crore in the last Lok Sabha elections, which is much above the prescribed limit, came under the Election Commission's scanner on Friday which initiated a probe into the matter.

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The Election Commission started verifying the facts of the statement made by Munde in Mumbai on Thursday and said it would take "appropriate action" as per law after verifying the facts.

The full Election Commission in its meeting chaired by chief election commissioner VS Sampath discussed the issue on Friday and decided to procure a CD of the speech and transcribe the same before initiating further action.

Asked about any action on Munde's statement, a senior EC official said, "Yes, we have come across such reports. The Commission is in the process of ascertaining and verifying the facts about it. After verifying the facts, it will take suitable action as appropriate under the law."

Munde, who is an MP from Beed and BJP's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, had yesterday said that he had spent a whopping Rs. eight crore during his 2009 Lok Sabha election campaign.

He made his statement at a book launch function in Mumbai where Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari were also present.

The prescribed limit for expenditure on poll campaign by a candidate in a Parliamentary constituency under the law is Rs. 25 lakh.

In his speech in Mumbai on Friday, Munde while talking about his long electioneering career and bemoaning the increasing cost of contesting elections, had said, "I spent Rs. 29,000 when I contested my first assembly poll in 1980. Rs. 8 crore were spent for my last (2009 Lok Sabha) election."

Earlier in the day, information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari had sought EC action on Munde's statement, saying the Commission should 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," Tewari said.


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