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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Narendra Modi promises to set up special courts to try MPs, MLAs
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Narendra Modi promises to set up special courts to try MPs, MLAs

BJP leader accuses Congress's UPA govt of inability to tackle corruption or black money stashed in foreign banks

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed election rallies in Maharashtra on Sunday. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/MintPremium
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed election rallies in Maharashtra on Sunday. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: Narendra Modi on Sunday promised to set up special courts to prosecute elected representatives facing corruption and criminal charges if his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is voted to power after Lok Sabha election.

He also accused the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of not being able to take steps to end corruption or bring back unaccounted money stashed in foreign banks.

Analysts say the BJP, seen as the frontrunner to win the national election, is training its electoral campaign on corruption, primarily to blunt activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal’s momentum.

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in its campaign for the Lok Sabha election that begins next week, has targeted both the BJP and the Congress for the various corruption charges faced by some of their leaders.

Addressing a public meeting at Nanded in Maharashtra on Sunday, Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, said: “If the BJP forms the government after the Lok Sabha election, we will form special courts and take action against MPs (members of Parliament) and MLAs (members of legislative assemblies) involved in corruption cases and facing criminal charges.

“This step will clean up the entire system in one go. We will not differentiate between various political parties while dealing with corruption and criminal cases. The guilty will be punished and those (who are) innocent will be get relief."

Modi was on a day-long campaign visit to Maharashtra and Karnataka. The two states, which are ruled by the Congress party, together comprise 76 Lok Sabha seats.

The BJP is trying to revive itself in Karnataka, where it lost the assembly election last year after corruption charges surfaced against its former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The Congress faces serious charges of corruption against its leaders related to irregularities in the allocations of telecom spectrum and coal blocks as well as to the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010.

In Maharashtra, its leaders are accused of wrongly allocating apartments in the Adarsh Housing Society that were meant for Kargil war widows.

Trying to revive the issue of unaccounted for money kept in foreign banks before the election, which was first raised by BJP leader L.K. Advani in his 2009 election campaign, Modi said a BJP government would take steps to bring the money back.

“The Congress party had said in its manifesto that it will bring back black money. It’s been 10 years of Congress rule, but black money was not brought back. (Can) Congress party explain why it failed to bring back black money?" Modi asked. “Congress will not bring back black money because the party knows who has illegally kept the money in foreign banks."

A percentage of the black money brought back will be distributed to taxpayers, Modi said, trying to win the support of the sizeable population of middle-class voters. “The BJP government would act against corrupt and honour the honest," he said.

Modi also said that though Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi talked about taking steps to end corruption, he had given a Lok Sabha ticket to Ashok Chavan, the former Maharashtra chief minister who has been charged in the Adarsh housing scam.

“I would like to take these promises and gimmicks with a bucket full of salt. These are part of election strategies and once voting is over, the people will be helpless," said Bidyut Chakrabarty, a Delhi-based political analyst. “We have enough institutional mechanisms to deal with corruption, but the inclination is lacking. The AAP has brought up issues which were kept out of focus. No party can afford to ignore them now."

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Published: 30 Mar 2014, 09:42 PM IST
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