Congress candidate in Amritsar Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday moved the Election Commission, seeking to include the cost of the house that BJP candidate Arun Jaitely had bought in his election expense, saying that the purchase was aimed at rebutting allegations of the latter being an “outsider” in the constituency. In a complaint filed through his election agent Karanpal Singh Sekhon, the former Punjab Chief Minister said: “The house has been purchased as an integral part of his campaign efforts and strategy to establish to the electorate of Amritsar that he is not an ‘outsider’ and so this ought not to be an impediment in their mind should they choose to vote for him”.
The complaint further said the party symbols, flags and other material being affixed to the house showed that it had been specifically bought and was being used for election purposes. Suggesting that the actual cost of the house should be much more than `1 crore, Amarinder said the 340-square-yard, five-bedroom house in Green Avenue – one of the posh colonies of the city – merited verification.
Referring to paragraph 18.9.1 of the Handbook for Returning Officers, the complaint said the purchase of the house and its running expenses should be reflected in Jaitley’s everyday expense register. Failing to do so will amount to an election offence under IPC Section 171, the petition added.
The maximum election expenditure a candidate is allowed is `70 lakh and any violation of this Election Commission rule will invite corruption charges under The Representation of the People Act, 1951, it added.
Amarinder also took a dig at Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal for “selling fake dreams” about Jaitley becoming Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.
“First of all, Jaitely is not going to win, which is more than obvious from the mood of the people of Amritsar. Probably, Badals believe that Jaitley has a magic wand or that he has got some currency note-printing machine and that he will flood them with money,” he said while campaigning in Thobah, Tehri and Chugawaan villages.