Money for tickets: Don't have rich donors like you, Karnataka Congress tells BJP – The Indian Express

ATTACKED by the BJP over its proposal to collect Rs 1-2 lakh from those filing nominations for the Karnataka 2023 Assembly elections, the Congress on Friday hit back. Unlike the BJP, Congress state president D K Shivakumar said, the Congress does not have access to “high-value electoral bonds by anonymous, wealthy donors”.
Perhaps in the first such large-scale measure, the Congress in the state will be making available ticket applications for Rs 5,000 each and charging Rs 1-2 lakh from those shortlisted to file their nominations; SC/ST candidates will be asked to pay half of that. The BJP has called it “sale of tickets” by the Congress.
Saying the BJP has no moral standing to raise the issue, Shivakumar said: “Since it came to power, the BJP has been collecting funds in the form of electoral bonds. We do not have people to give us electoral bonds. What is the BJP’s problem if we collect funds from our workers?”
The BJP released a video on social media on Friday questioning the Congress move, saying: “In 2018, D K Shivakumar sought contributions of Rs 50 to Rs 100 to file his nomination. It was a publicity stunt. Since becoming the Congress president, and even though he has crores of wealth, the Congress leader is now setting out to loot lakhs and lakhs of funds of its workers. This will only result in empty pockets for Congress workers and no tickets.”
Shivakumar said he was not bothered with such criticism. “None of our party workers has complained about the costs. Those who are unhappy with these policies should not remain in the party. They can leave the party. This decision has been taken in the interest of the party and all its members. Will all these people who are talking now come and build the party?” he said, adding: “All political parties operate on the basis of donations. It is common to have donations to build a party.”
Contrasting this with the corruption allegations the Congress has been raising against the BJP, Shivakumar said: “A wealthy political party like the BJP is involved in the collection of 40 per cent commissions, Rs 2,500 crore kickbacks for the CM’s post, and electoral bonds. Donations are our refuge.”
The Congress central leadership has asked the Karnataka unit to finalise a list of candidates for the 2023 polls by the end of November.
Earlier this week, the state unit came up with the proposal to charge money for applications and filing of nominations – also to ensure that only serious candidates come forward to seek tickets for the 224 Assembly seats in Karnataka, the party said.
The Congress is expected to initially release a list of candidates from constituencies where it is the weakest, before moving on to seats where it lost narrowly or won in the 2018 polls.
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