STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Alleging unprecedented use of black money and ill-gotten wealth during ongoing Parliamentary elections, Chairman JKNPP and former Minister, Harsh Dev Singh on Sunday said that democracy seemed to have lost its meaning and relevance in the country. “With several crores being incurred on individual elections, especially by big parties by hiring aircrafts, choppers, chartered planes, engaging film-stars and actors for campaigns , purchasing TV channels and media for party publicity and using money power to influence voters, had reduced democracy to a farce. Rather than being a government ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’, the present democracy had become a government ‘of money, by money and for money’,” said Singh. He said that slogans of ‘level playing field’ and of curbing use of money power in elections had proved mere hyperboles and used as window-dressing for the gullible. Terming brazen display of money power in current elections as anti-thesis to free and fair elections, Harsh Dev Singh said that fast changing political narrative in the country only amounted to slow poisoning of democracy. He expressed dismay over open defiance of expenditure norms of the ECI by BJP, Congress and DSS in Udhampur Parliamentary constituency, with none to take cognizance. He said that that thousands of buses and matadors were used to ferry passengers to Kathua on April 14, to attend BJP’s election rally, addressed by Narendra Modi and party candidate, Jitendra Singh, for which several crores were spent on transport, ‘podiums’, ‘Pandals’, chartered planes besides making banners, hoardings and other publicity materials for the campaign. Likewise, in BJP’s rally addressed by the party chief, Amit Shah in Udhampur to canvass for the same candidate, thousands of vehicles were hired without any accounting having been given for that, said Singh. “Similarly, campaign through helicopters was carried out in all assembly segments by BJP and Congress, in which millions and crores were spent without any accountability whatsoever,” he said. Harsh Dev divulged that even the DSS candidate from Udhampur, spent several crores on his campaign, without revealing the sources and without accounting for the same in Expenditure registers. With democratic rights of poor opponents having been guillotined by use of illegitimate money, Harsh said that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s slogan of ushering clean politics had proved to be yet another ‘Chunavi Jumla’. “It is irony that black money was being used in the country to elect white-collared politicians”, lamented Harsh.
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