Loose Change, Cheque: How Candidates Are Paying Election Deposits in Gujarat
An independent candidate from Navsari Assembly constituency in Gujarat demanded that the returning officer accept her payment by cheque, citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's goal of 'less-cash India'
Representative image / Getty Images
Ahmedabad: When it comes to paying their election deposits, most candidates follow the norms by either paying in cash or depositing the money with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). But two candidates in Gujarat made a statement out of the most routine of election procedures.
While an independent candidate from Navsari assembly constituency demanded that the returning officer accept her payment by cheque, citing the Prime Minister's goal of 'less-cash India', a BSP candidate from the Jalalpor seat turned up with Rs. 5,000 in loose change. One candidate claimed to uphold the creed of 'cashless India', the other was protesting against it being "forced" upon the people.
On Tuesday, independent candidate Krutika Vaidya reached to file her nomination and when the returning officer asked her to make the deposit, she pulled out her cheque book. This led to an argument with the returning officer, who refused to accept her nomination. The RO insisted that Vaidya pay her deposit through any one of the two tried and tested "conventional" means.
When the returning officer refused to relent, Vaidya's lawyer Kanubhai Sukhadiya pushed further for a cashless transaction. That, too, was turned down and led to a heated argument between the officials and Sukhadiya, who was almost evicted from the premises. To diffuse the situation, the candidate ended the matter by paying in cash.
"Today, we are talking about a cashless India. Narendrabhai Modi has said it is one of his government's biggest priorities, so keeping that in mind, when we went to file the nomination for Krutika Vaidya for the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha elections, we wanted to pay the deposit by cheque. The returning officer, however, refused to accept the payment in cheque. We were even asked to leave the office at one point. Narendra Modi may have given the slogan of cashless India, but officials on the ground are not following it," Sukhadiya said, after the incident.
But, perhaps, even more bizarre was the nomination process of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Gunwant Rathore from the Jalalpor assembly constituency. In protest of the government's decision to "force" a cashless economy onto the people, Rathore turned up to the election office with Rs. 5,000 in coins last week.
He was carrying currency coins in denominations of Re. 1, Rs. 2 and Rs. 5. Collectively, all the coins put together weighed a whopping 15 kilograms. Technically, Rathore was not in the wrong since he was paying cash. Therefore, his nomination was valid. However, the returning officer had to depute extra staff dedicated to counting the 15 kg of coins that Rathore had brought in.
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