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Congress member seeks loan to fight elections

A Congress party member in Rajasthan is seeking a bank loan - to fund his election campaign.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Jaipur
UPDATED ON APR 03, 2004 02:11 PM IST

A Congress party member in Rajasthan is seeking a bank loan - to fund his election campaign.

Deepak Chaudhary is keen to contest from Jodhpur but says he does not have the financial resources to contest what would obviously be a costly campaign for the parliamentary seat.

So Chaudhary is knocking the doors of the State Bank of India, but the bank has said there are no legal provisions under which it can provide a loan to fight an election.

"Yes, I applied for a loan," Chaudhary told IANS on telephone from Jodhpur. "When a bank can provide loans to the unemployed to establish an industry, why can't a person get a loan for fighting elections?"

He said the Election Commission wanted elections to be fought using legitimate money that could be accounted for.

But since a large amount of money was needed to canvas for votes in a sprawling Lok Sabha constituency such as Jodhpur, Chaudhary said he was desperate.

"A bank loan," explained the man, "is the best method by which one can fight a clean election. We will have no problems in disclosing how the money was got and how we spent it."

Chaudhary said he was ready to offer guarantee to the bank in the form of the agriculture land he owns and his life insurance policies in return for a loan.

He did not say how much money he was seeking, but added: "I am ready to pay back the loan in equated monthly instalments."

Said a bank official: "Initially we thought that Chaudhary was joking. When we found that he was serious we told him that there are no loan provisions to this effect."

But Chaudhary, a passionate Congress supporter, has not given up.

He has sent a letter to the head office of the bank, and hopes someone there may persuade the branch in Jodhpur to do the needful.

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