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Praful Patel says Modi has made it difficult to fight elections

praful-patelNationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel said political parties are facing a lot of problems in fighting elections due to the ongoing crack-down on cash by Narendra Modi government.

“You know what is going on with fighting elections.. you have also been a treasurer,” Patel said in the Rajya Sabha today, looking at a fellow MP.

“There is no point is pretending that we don’t know.. we are all aware of the problems,” Patel said, adding that political funding should be rectified to resolve the problem related to cash financing of elections.

Patel was participating in a discussion on the ongoing cash-swap scheme introduced by the government of India to remove illegal funds from the economy.

Politicians, bureaucrats and business people are seen as the three segments of the Indian population with the largest amounts of ‘black money’ or income that has not been declared in front of the tax authorities.

While politicians and bureaucrats cannot disclose their excess income due to the illegal nature of the same, business people voluntarily hide much of their income to escape high levels of taxation.

The current crackdown on black money by PM Narendra Modi has caught all three segments unawares.

Politicians are leading the fight, claiming to represent the ordinary people of the country who they claim have been drastically affected by the crackdown.

A group of prominent political leaders, including Mamata Bannerjee and Omar Abdullah, are scheduled to meet the Indian president to state the problems caused by the crackdown on black money via the forced currency swap.

Under the program revealed a week ago, all those who hold 500- and 1000-rupee notes must get them swapped or deposited from the nearest bank within a period of 50 days.

Out of the 14.2 lakh cr worth of 500- and 1000-rupee notes in circulation, an estimated 4.5 lakh cr has already been swapped or deposited.

POLITICIAN’S PAIN

Most of India’s political spending happens in cash, and it is routine for politicians to keep mounds and mounds of cash at home or at special locations — especially in the lead up to the elections.

Cash is used not only for meeting organizational needs, but in many cases, to ‘distribute’ to voters as an incentive for them to vote for a particular candidate.

Modi caused a flutter with his hard and foolproof crackdown, as no politician was seen as willing to take on the cash economy on which the political parties themselves rely on.

Opposition leaders, including Arvind Kejriwal, allege that Modi leaked the information about the crackdown to BJP leaders, allowing the ruling party to preemptively move its cash into lower denominations.

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