Chennai advocate urges poll panel to disqualify TDP candidates

April 8th, 2009 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, April 8 (IANS) S. Subramaniam Balaji, a city-based advocate, has accused the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) of bribing people to vote for it and urged the Election Commission to disqualify the party’s candidates for the Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh assembly polls.
The advocate Wednesday alleged that the TDP is promising poor voters free colour television sets, Rs.2,000 to those below the poverty line, Rs.1,500 to other poor people and Rs.1,000 to middle class families.

“The TDP’s poll promises are unconstitutional and bribery amounting to corrupt practice under Section 123 (1) of the Representation of the People Act read together with Section 171-B(2) of the Indian Penal Code. Such poll promises also violate Article 282 of the Constitution,” Balaji told IANS.

Contending that TDP’s poll promises are unconstitutional, Balaji says that the election commission should reject the candidates at the nomination filing stage itself.

“A government cannot enrich private individuals out of consolidated funds. Giving land, free TVs and monthly cash doles are precisely that,” he argued.

While the TDP estimates that the cash transfer scheme will cost the state exchequer Rs.100 billion (Rs.10,000 crore), its rival Congress has said the scheme will actually cost double that amount.

The free colour TV scheme is expected to cost around Rs.30 billion (Rs.3,000 crore).

“I had filed a complaint to the Election Commission March 6 but am yet to get a reply. I will send an application under the Right to Information Act to know the status of my complaint,” said Balaji.

A Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by Balaji against the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government on the constitutional validity of the free distribution of colour TVs in the state is also pending.

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