BJP claims to be collecting donations from Bengal villagers for PM’s rallies
Coupons with Rs 1000 printed on them along with the Prime Minister’s photograph, BJP explained, were receipts for donations. In Puducherry however the party has been accused of distributing gold coins
Bharatiya Janata Party is so cash strapped that it is collecting donations from Bengal villagers to organize Prime Minister’s election rallies in the state. Caught napping by villagers in South 24 Parganas producing coupons with the Prime Minister’s photograph, the date of his rally mentioned as April 1 and the amount Rs 1000 prominent, that is the explanation the BJP came up with on Tuesday.
“They are receipts for donations,” is what the party initially said. Asked if they believed villagers in South 24 Parganas could afford to pay the amount (coupons were all of the Rs 1000 denomination), the party shifted its stand. The receipts were meant for traders and businessmen who donated and it required investigation to find out how the coupons reached the poor villagers or farmers.
Rivals had a field day with TMC (AITC) leaders mocking the BJP and pointing out that Coupongate called the Prime Minister’s bluff that Bengal had been ruined under Mamata Banerjee. If BJP has to collect donations of Rs 1000 for each coupon, it indicated that the economy in Bengal was in very good shape.
Villagers, however, told CPM and AITC leaders that the coupons were distributed by the BJP with the promise of ‘assured gift’ if they attended the Prime Minister’s rally and voted for the BJP. The promised gift would presumably be worth the amount mentioned on the coupon.
BJP leaders, however, changed the explanation once again and told The Telegraph that the coupons were given to transporters who had ferried people for the Prime Minister’s rally. They came up with a convoluted explanation that trucks were given two coupons if Rs 2000 were due to them, conceding that the coupons were meant to be encashed.
People were quick to point out that even for the donation drive launched by the RSS for the construction of the Ram temple, coupons worth Rs 10 and Rs 100 were issued besides coupons of higher denominations, including Rs 1000.
Mamata Banerjee had alleged last month that BJP leaders were distributing cash in the state.
That the Election Commission of India, despite the presence of Election Observers and central paramilitary forces, remained oblivious to the scandal and failed to flag it, raised doubts about its ability to conduct a fair election.