Congress Accuses BJP of Freezing Bank Accounts


Sonia Gandhi alleged that a “systematic effort” is underway by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “cripple” the Indian National Congress financially….reports Asian Lite News

Congress on Thursday alleged Bharatiya Janata Party of freezing its bank accounts ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and said that it is finding it tough to prepare for the elections because of this reason, however, Bharatiya Janata Party hit back and said that their claims point toward “desperation of imminent defeat” adding that “era of entitlement is over”.

Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi alleged on Thursday that a “systematic effort” is underway by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “cripple” the Indian National Congress financially, while calling it “unprecedented and undemocratic.”

At a press conference accompanied by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and senior party leader Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi said, “This issue affects not just the Congress, it impacts our democracy itself most fundamentally. A systematic effort is underway by the Prime Minister to cripple the Indian National Congress financially.”

“Funds collected from the public are being frozen and money from our accounts is being taken away forcibly. However, even under these most challenging circumstances, we are doing our very best to maintain the effectiveness of our election campaign,” she said.

Earlier, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said the action on the accounts of the Congress party meant there was no level playing field in the Lok Sabha polls

“The Supreme Court called electoral bonds illegal and unconstitutional. Under that scheme, the present ruling party filled its accounts with thousands and crores of rupees. On the other hand, under a conspiracy, the bank account of the main opposition party has been frozen. So that, in the absence of funds, there is no level-playing field in contesting the elections,” Kharge said.

“This is a dangerous game by the ruling party, which will have a far-reaching impact. If democracy in this country has to be saved, there has to be a level-playing ground” he added.

Kharge emphasised that it is essential for a democracy that elections are conducted in an impartial manner.

Rahul Gandhi also claimed that all Congress’ bank accounts have been frozen, the party can do no campaign work, cannot support party workers, and cannot support party candidates.

“All our bank accounts have been frozen. We can do no campaign work, we cannot support our workers, we cannot support our candidates. This has been done two months before the election campaign. One notice comes from the 90s, another from 6-7 years back. Quantum amount is Rs 14 lakhs and punishment – our entire financial identity. All the institutions are quiet and the Election Commission has not even said anything,” he added.

Hitting back at the Congress over its claims, BJP leader Sambit Patra said that the era of entitlement is over under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“First you commit default, then you think you will get relief, this won’t happen. You will be treated as a defaulter. The era of entitlement is over under PM Narendra Modi.

Ji’s leadership. Even if you are from the Gandhi family, it is not the bank account of the Congress party that is frozen; it is the Congress party that is frozen,” he said.

Also, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said Congress making “no democracy” comments over Income Tax Department action concerning its accounts was ridiculous.

“In utter desperation of imminent defeat, the Congress party at the highest level sought to make an alibi today,” Prasad said.

“Section 13(a) of the Income Tax Act states that income tax is not levied on parties. But the party has to file its return every year in which it has to be told how many donors are above Rs 20,000 and how many are below. If you do not file this in every assessment, you will lose your exemption…..”An Order passed for the assessment year 2018-19, as they had not filed returns due to which their exemption was denied,” he said, adding that a demand of over Rs 105 crore was placed after that.

“There is complete provision for collection and recovery in Sections 20 and 21 of the Income Tax Act,” he added.

Prasad said penalty was imposed because the tax was not paid.The BJP leader said first the tribunal rejected their stay plea and they did not get relief from the High Court.

Meanwhile, Maken alleged that the BJP government has “looted the donations given to the Congress” party by the common public “by freezing our accounts and forcibly withdrawing” Rs 115.32 crore from them.”

“No political party, including the BJP, pays Income Tax, yet the Congress party’s 11 Bank Accounts were frozen. Why?” he asked.

Maken said that for a notice for FY 2017-18, lien on Rs 210 crore was marked in the party’s 11 accounts in four banks.

He also questioned the timing of freezing of party’s accounts.”We received the Rs 199 crore donation in 2017-18, but after 7 years, on 13th February 2024, 210.25 cr lien was marked, our bank accounts were virtually sealed, and later, Rs 115.32 crore was forcibly confiscated.”

He said the party last week received fresh notice from the IT Department for the FY 1993-94, when Sitaram Kesri was the treasurer. “We are being asked to calculate penal charges for the FY 1993-94 after 31 years of the assessment,” he said.

The Delhi High Court earlier last week upheld the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) order refusing to stay on the Income Tax notice for recovery of more than Rs 105 crore as an outstanding tax against the Congress. (ANI)

Digvijaya Singh Likely to Contest From Rajgarh

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh is likely to contest Lok Sabha elections from the Rajgarh Assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh, according to the party sources.

As per the sources, the decision regarding the candidature of the Madhya Pradesh former Chief Minister was taken in the Central Election Committee of the Congress party.

Singh hails from the Raghogarh Assembly segment in Guna district which falls under the Rajgarh parliamentary constituency.

But since 2004, the Rajgarh seat has been a stronghold of the BJP, whose leader Rodmal Nagar won the seat twice in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Rajgarh is a Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh that covers the entire Rajgarh district and parts of Guna and Agar Malwa districts.

The Congress may field Arun Yadav in Guna constituency to challenge Union Minister and BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, the sources added.

This seat has been the Scindia family’s bastion, represented six times by Jyotiraditya Scindia’s grandmother and BJP stalwart Vijaya Raje Scindia and four times by his father and Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia.

In 2019, Jyotiraditya Scindia, then in Congress, suffered a big upset when he lost to BJP’s K P Singh Yadav by 1.26 lakh votes.

In 2020, Scindia joined the BJP and some Congress MLAs also quit, leading to the collapse of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in the state.

Lok Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh will be held in four phases on April 19, April 26, May 7 and May 13 while the counting of votes will be held on June 4.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won 28 out of 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh, while the Congress got just one seat. (ANI)

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