The opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh urged the Election Commission of India to ensure that the expenses on campaign and publicity being incurred by the 39 candidates officially declared by BJP should be included in their poll expenses.
A Congress delegation submitted a memorandum to the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer (CEO) Anupam Rajan. The party also urged the poll body to ensure that government events are stopped at the constituencies for which the ruling party has announced its candidates.
The Congress alleged that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been misusing funds from the public exchequer for the publicity and campaigning of the announced candidates, which, they demanded, should be stopped.
In an unprecedented move, the BJP announced its first list of 39 candidates on August 17, way ahead of the elections or even the imposition of the model code of conduct. These 39 seats are where the ruling BJP has been consistently losing.
In the memorandum to the CEO, the Congress said the assembly elections have been set in motion in the state and various political parties started to announce their candidates. The BJP has announced 39 candidates who have started their election campaign and are spending lakhs of rupees in the process. The memorandum expressed hope that as per election rules, the candidates would be maintaining the accounts of these expenses, for which the ECI has set an upper limit. All these expenses should be compulsorily added to the poll expenses of the candidates, the Congress said.
The memo further said currently the BJP is the ruling party in the state and CM Chouhan has been conducting incessant election tours and public meetings across the state. During these events in the assembly constituencies where the candidates had already been announced, major announcements were being made and the CM has clearly said if the people elect the candidate of the ruling party, the announcements will be fulfilled. This, the Congress said, comes in the category of inducement to voters and a violation of election process and conduct.
The Congress memorandum further said the CM and other ministers were conducting election campaigns in favour of the declared candidates on public exchequer for political gains and this was against the rules.
The party has demanded an immediate ban on economic announcements by the government in the constituencies of the declared candidates and stopping the rampant misuse of public funds in government events in these areas, so that the voting for 2023 elections could be conducted in a fair and independent manner.
The Congress delegation that met the CEO included organisation in-charge of MP Congress Rajeev Singh, election work in-charge J.P. Dhanopia, vice-presidents Prakash Jain and Mahendra Joshi and chairman of the media department K.K. Mishra.