BJP caught in eye of storm over Dow funds

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New Delhi/Bhopal, Jun 13 (UNI) Ahead of the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, the BJP seemed to be caught in the eye of a storm today with the MP Congress charging it with collecting donation from the controversial US based Dow Chemicals, regarded as the successor of Union Carbide, responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

The BJP, however, said it was working out a mechanism to scrutinise the background of individuals and companies before accepting party funds.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy in New Delhi said the party had taken note of the news reports alleging it had received 2,500 dollars as contributions from Dow Chemicals, which took over Bhopal's infamous Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in 2001.

The UCC was held responsible for the deaths of thousands of people on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 in the gas leak tragedy and even today several thousands of survivors continue to suffer from chronic illnesses caused by the leakage of tonnes of methyl isocyanate gas, one of the worst ecological disasters.

Mr Rudy said the party apparatus did not have the wherewithal of scrutinising the background of the individuals and companies wanting to fund its coffers. The party had already informed the Election Commission (EC) about the contributions received.

The party was also ascertaining the facts regarding the reports quoting the Election Commission documents about the funding of political parties and donations received by them between 2005 and 2007.

The BJP is evolving a mode wherein the background of the donor agencies and individuals will be screened before accepting the contributions. This would also help to reject ''unwanted contributions'' in the initial stages itself, Mr Rudy said.

The MP Congress charged the ruling BJP with collecting donation from Dow Chemicals, regarded as the successor of Union Carbide, which was responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

In separate statements issued in Bhopal, Opposition Leader Jamuna Devi and Congress spokesperson Manak Agrawal said Dow Chemicals had acquired Union Carbide and hence, cannot escape the responsibility.

Mr Agrawal said the BJP was displaying 'hypocrisy' towards the gas victims by collecting donation from Dow Chemicals. Its demand for compensation for them was merely an eyewash.

Ms Devi claimed that information received under the Right to Information Act revealed that the BJP had received donation from Dow Chemicals in 2006-07.

UNI TEAM ATI AS1952

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