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EC threatens action against AAP for discrepancies in electoral funding reports

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Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi | Flagging discrepancies in its electoral funding statement, the Election Commission Tuesday threatened the AAP with action for “prima facie failing” to follow its transparency guidelines.

In its show-cause notice, the EC claimed that transactions through hawala operators were “wrongly disclosed as voluntary donations”. The EC has asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to respond to the notice “within 20 days”, failing which it will decide on the cases on merit based on the information available with it and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

Rule 16 A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order allows the EC to either suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party. The AAP is a recognised state party in Delhi. The notice said the AAP had submitted the original contribution report for Financial Year 2014-15, which was received by it on September 30, 2015. The party later submitted a revised report on March 20, 2017.

“The original report contains a list of 2,696 donors with the total donations amounting to Rs 37,45,44,618 and the revised contribution report shows the total amount as Rs 37,60,62,631 received from 8,264 donors,” it said.

The poll panel said that a report was received from the office of the CBDT chairman in 2018 regarding “concealment of donations received by the AAP” during Financial Year 2014-15.

Referring to concealment of donations, the EC notice said the bank account of the AAP recorded total credits of Rs 67.67 crore, including Rs 64.44 crore from donations in excess of Rs 20,001.

“However, the party has disclosed total income of Rs 54.15 crore from donations in its audited accounts for the year. Therefore, it has been held by the assessing officer that Rs 13.16 crore have not been accounted for by the party and these donations have been held to be from unknown sources,” the notice read.

The notice also mentions transactions with hawala dealers, claiming that the party has taken “accommodation entries from hawala operators to the tune of Rs 2 crore. These have also been wrongly disclosed as voluntary donations.”

Referring to the CBDT report, the EC said the AAP made “wrong disclosures” on its official website and also furnished incorrect information to the poll panel under Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act.

“It (CBDT letter to EC) details how the party has changed/revised its contribution report once the correctness of the same was questioned. In conclusion, it is stated that its disclosures to the Election Commission in the form of the contribution report are incorrect,” the EC notice said.

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Kumaraswamy government in deep slumber, alleges Yeddyurappa

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Yeddyurappa

Belagavi |Alleging that the Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka was in a deep slumber like the epic character ‘Kumbhakarna,’ state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa on Tuesday said it had no moral right to remain in power.

The Congress was now regretting its decision to support the JD(S) to form a government, Yeddyurappa claimed in the assembly, as he asked the ruling coalition to work towards addressing issues of the people or “resign and go”.

Seeking to corner the government on a host of issues, he said the coalition worries in the ruling alliance were “hampering” the administration and developmental works.

Initiating the debate on drought situation in the state, Yeddyurappa said, the government has announced hundred taluks as drought-hit and the situation was such that 20 more taluks are likely to be added to the list.

Demanding answers from the government on drought mitigation measures, he said, according to information gathered by him, except for one or two places, ministers had not visited affected areas and funds were not being utilised efficiently for relief works.

Pointing out at the delay in setting up of fodder banks, he said, “no minister or Chief Minister had taken the situation seriously.

Noting that the state had overall deficit rainfall of about 49 per cent, Yeddyurappa sought to know the steps taken to address the situation with summer approaching fast.

“The government is in a deep slumber like Kumbhakarna.

It has closed it eyes. It is not coming to the rescue of farmers and people at the time when they need it the most,” he added.

Coming down heavily on the JD(S), Yeddyurappa while pointing at the promises made by the party ahead of assembly polls, including waiving of farm loan within 24 hours after coming to power, said its manifesto was a “bundle of lies”.

“I want to tell this Chief Minister that he had made a false promise to the 6.5 crore people of the state through his manifesto of lies….,” he said.

Stating that he would have wanted the government to complete its five-year term if it had fulfilled the promises made and worked for the betterment of the people, the BJP leader said, “after having seen its administration and its functioning, I feel this government has no moral right to stay in power.”

Yeddyurappa, the leader of Opposition also questioned Congress’ silence on the functioning of the government, headed by its coalition partner the JD(S).

“Have you (Congress) read JD(S)’ manifesto…. Chief Minister still speaks only about big things, but nothing was happening on the ground,” he said.

He alleged that during the previous Siddaramaiah government rule, 4,712 farmers had committed suicide and 489 under the current dispensation.

There was growing disgruntlement within the Congress and “it may explode any time”, he claimed.

“People are waiting when this government will go…

you (ruling coalition) work for the people and address their issues or resign and go,” he added.

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Politics

President accepts Upendra Kushwaha’s resignation

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Upendra Kushwaha

New Delhi | President Ram Nath Kovind Tuesday accepted RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha’s resignation from the Union council of ministers. In a press communique, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said the President, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has accepted the resignation of Kushwaha from the Union Council of Ministers with immediate effect.

Kushwaha on Monday had severed his ties with the BJP and tendered his resignation accusing the Prime Minister of reducing the cabinet to a “rubber stamp”, “betraying” backward classes and giving Bihar only “jumlas”.

Making the announcement a day ahead of Parliament’s Winter Session, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader Kushwaha from Bihar said he is open to joining the opposition alliance, which includes Lalu Prasad’s RJD and the Congress.

He also claimed the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance would not be able to win a single seat in the state.

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Winter Session: PM Modi urges political parties to take up issues of public interest

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forces

New Delhi | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged all parties to utilize the Winter Session of Parliament for public interest rather than political interests. Speaking outside Parliament before the start of the session, the prime minister asked leaders of various political parties to participate in debates, discuss issues of public interest and work towards resolving them.

Modi hoped that the session would be constructive and members would participate in debates on key issues concerning the public, even if sharper. He hoped the winter session would function more than its stipulated time.

“I am confident that political parties will keep public interest in mind and make use of this session to utilize it for furthering public interests and not parties interests,” he told reporters.

Modi said this Winter Session of Parliament is important and everyone should participate in the discussion.

“There should be a debate, discussion, and dialogue,” he said.

The Winter Session of Parliament starts Tuesday and will end on January 8.

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