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Cong Accuses BJP of Bribing Voters in Rajasthan With 'Free Smartphone' Scheme

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi alleged that weeks before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force, the Vasundhara Raje government is spending people's money to lure voters in the state.

PTI

Updated:September 5, 2018, 10:28 PM IST
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Cong Accuses BJP of Bribing Voters in Rajasthan With 'Free Smartphone' Scheme
File photo of Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje. (PTI)
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New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday accused the BJP of bribing voters with state funds through its 'free smartphone' scheme in Rajasthan and insulting the legacy of Rajput king Maharana Pratap and his close aide Bhamashah by naming the scheme after them.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi alleged that weeks before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force, the Vasundhara Raje government is spending people's money to lure voters in the state.

The BJP government in Rajasthan has announced providing free smartphones with Internet connectivity, under the Bhamashah Digital ParivarYojana' to families covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the state.

As per government records, 1.64 crore families with 6.08 crore members are enrolled with Bhamashah' scheme and of these 1.03 crore families are entitled to receive benefits under the NFSA.

"The BJP is using public money to collectively bribe the people of Rajasthan. It is offering mobile phones as an 'electoral lollipop' with tax payers' money to garner votes," Singhvi alleged.

There is nothing wrong in making manifesto promises but spending people's money to offer an 'electoral bribe' is an offence, he told reporters.

The Congress leader claimed it is being done at a time when Chief Minister Raje and her BJP government are facing rejection from people of the state.

"The BJP-led Vasundhara Raje Government is using people's money from the state treasury for self-promotion.

"It was widely reported how BJP used people's money to further political goals by spending Rs 1 crore on Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's 'Gaurav Yatra' from August 4 to 10 just in the Udaipur division itself," he told reporters.

Singhvi said Representation of the People Act, 1951 clearly lays down the laws of the land in this aspect and explicitly defines the term 'bribery'. This offering of BJP by distributing mobile phones just before the elections is "collective bribery" of "monumental proportions", he said.

"On behalf of the people of Rajasthan, Congress party wants to ask why the Vasundhara Raje government woke up after 56 months of slumber, just before the elections to give away mobile phones? "Does it not want to hide its monumental failures?" Singhvi said, alleging that the Modi government and the BJP-ruled states are indulging in "mindless freebies" in the last lap of their terms.

"Why is the BJP insulting the legacy of the great Bhamashahji, who was also the treasuryin-charge of Mewar.... He was known for his astuteness in finances- yet the BJP is hurting the treasury by this mindless electoral bribery and insulting his legacy," he said.

Asked if the party will move the Election Commission, Singhvi said, "We have many options.... We have power to use all these alternatives.... Our main purpose is to awaken the public."
| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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