The Election Commission’s (EC) drive to prevent increasing use of money power in elections has resulted in seizure of more than Rs. 3 crore. But the business community of the state is up in arms. In most cases, traders and retail businessmen bore the brunt of the EC initiative, they say.
Asked to seize cash over Rs. 2.5 lakh in transit without documentary evidence under the model code of conduct, flying squads have made seizures from vehicles in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara.
While the income tax authorities are checking if the money was meant for use in political activities, various trade and business organisations and the ruling BJP allege harassment.
Requesting the EC to relax guidelines, a statement from the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) said, “Diwali is getting close, so cash movement will go up, as people prefer to use cash for retail purchases”.
Gujarat BJP leader Purushottam Rupala also urged the EC to ease norms so the common man, traders and businessmen are not harassed. “If any politician is caught carrying cash, the EC must take strict action, but the common man should not be penalised, because over 90% retail transactions are though cash,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Rajkot police seized R5 lakh from godman Bharati Bapu, who was in the car. On Tuesday, the static surveillance teams (SST) seized R9 crore, which was being transported in a van by a bank.
Chief Electoral Officer Anita Karwal said there have been 12 cases of cash interception. The money has been handed over to the income tax department. “We will release the cash after it is accounted for,” she added.
Muslim, Bihar leaders not to campaign for BJP
Delhi: BJP’s prominent muslim faces and its leaders from Bihar will not campaign for the ruling party in poll-bound Gujarat.
In its list of star campaigners for Gujarat polls provided to the Election Commission, BJP has neither listed any of its muslim faces nor any leader from Bihar where it shares power with JD-U.
The BJP, which has fielded its Muslim leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain to speak on behalf of it on contentious issues, has decided not to field them as party campaigners despite a sizeable muslim population in the state.