BJP demands investigations into Cong's polls cash recovery

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Shillong, Feb 25 (UNI) The Bharatiya Janata Party today asked the Election Commission to initiate an investigation into the Rs 23. 80 lakh, recovered from the hotel room of two AICC leaders' in Meghalaya.

The saffron party demanded more deployment of central para military force and enhance monitoring of the expenditure of the Congress to ensure 'free and fair' March 3 Assembly elections in the state.

Yesterday, Election Officials here conducted a search operation in the room of AICC secretary Capt. (retd) Praveen Davar and AICC accountant Vijay Malhotra, based on a complaint alleging that Congress was distributing money to woo voters.

In a formal complaint filed with state's Chief Electoral Officer P Naik here today, the Meghalaya BJP said that the recovery of Rs 23.80 lakhs was ''an indication that the Congress will be using all powers, including money power, distribution of liquor and gift items to influence voters.'' The Congress has been splurging money to entice voters for the March 3 Assembly elections, BJP president H Syiemlieh told reporters here.

Questioning the source of the money, he asked the Congress to come clean on how much money the party was spending during the entire election process in Meghalaya.

The Congress may have amassed money by approving certain projects by the Congress led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) coalition government before the announcement of the election date by the Election Commission, he said.

Joining the BJP's chorus, the Nationalist Congress Party has alleged the Congress of distributing money to electorate in Garo Hills areas of the state.

In the past, Congress had alleged the NCP and P A Sangma for distributing money to entice voters, but now it appears that in reality, the Congress is engaged in money power, NCP's candidate Conrad K Sangma said.

The United Democratic Party, an ally of Congress-led MDA government, condemned the alleged use of 'money power' by the Congress.

Congress-turned UDP leader Ampareen Lyngdoh said that yesterday's incident exposed the 'sinister designs' of the Congress to win democratic elections.

''This itself indicates that how corrupt the Congress party,'' she stated.

Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer P Naik told reporters that the election department is doing its best to see that political parties adhere to the guidelines given by the Election Commission.

'' We have expenditure observers who asses the visible expenditure of each candidates but it is difficult for the department to keep tap on whether that is the actual expenditure being spent.'' UNI RRK KK VD GC1851

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