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PIL filed in SC against freebies by political parties during elections

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NEW DELHI: A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court on Saturday claiming that promise or distribution of irrational freebies from public funds before elections could unduly influence the voters, shake the roots of a free and fair election, and disturb the level playing field, besides vitiating the purity of the election process.

The plea, filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, contended that such decisions by the political parties violated Articles 14, 162, 266(3) and 282 of the Constitution.

It sought directions to the Election Commission to seize election symbols and deregister political parties that promised to distribute irrational freebies from public funds.

The plea claimed political parties’ arbitrarily promises or irrational freebies for wrongful gain and to lure voters in their favour is analogous to bribery and undue influences.

The injury to the citizens is extremely large because Punjab needs Rs 12,000 crore per month to fulfil the political promises if AAP comes in power; Rs 25,000 crore per month if SAD comes in power and Rs 30,000 crore if Congress comes to power, although GST collection is only Rs 1,400 crore, it pointed out.

“In fact, after debt repayment, Punjab government is not able pay even salaries-pensions, then how will it provide freebies? The bitter truth is that Punjab’s debt is increasing every subsequent year. State’s outstanding debt has increased to Rs 77,000 crore, with Rs 30,000 crore accumulating in present financial year itself,” it claimed.

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