Derecognise BJP, Cong tells EC

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Bhopal, Jun 16 (UNI) The Congress today urged the Election Commission to cancel Bharatiya Janata Party's registration and symbol holding it guilty of violating the Foreign Contribution(Regulation) Act, 1976 by accepting donation from US multinational Dow Chemicals, which acquired the pesticide plant responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster.

Leader of the opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Jamuna Devi today submitted a memorandum addressed to the state's Chief Electoral Officer demanding to derecognise BJP after holding an inquiry into the donation issue.

Ms Jamuna Devi told reporters that BJP, the ruling party in Madhya Pradesh, stood exposed for accepting donation from a foreign company that was responsible for the death of several thousand people in the 1984 gas leak disaster. ''The BJP had cheated the people of Bhopal and also violated Election Symbols(Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968'', she added.

Under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, she said, political parties were barred from accepting donation from foreign countries. ''The BJP was silent on the issue as it was guilty'', she added.

MPCC Vice-President Rameshwar Neekhra, who is also President of Madhya Pradesh Bar Council, said any multinational company, despite its registration under the Indian Companies Act for operational purpose, would be deemed as foreign company only.

Replying to a question, Mr Neekhra said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had already set up a cabinet sub-committee to look into the demand for declaring the remaining 20 municipal wards of Bhopal as gas-affected and its report was expected soon.

Congress spokesman Manak Agrawal said the Election Commission was competent to decide on derecognising political parties accepting foreign donation.

Bhopal pesticide plant, from where nearly 40 tonnes of toxic methyl isocynate leaked out killing several thousand people and maiming many lakh others, was then owned by American multinational Union Carbide Corporation and later the company was acquired by Dow Chemicals. The criminal case relating to the 1984 disaster was still pending in a Bhopal court.

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