Senior BJP leaders are meeting the Chief Elections Commissioner over the government’s newly announced direct cash transfer scheme, saying that its introduction just before the Gujarat assembly elections is a violation of the model code of conduct.
The Times Now television channel reported that senior leaders LK Advani, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Balbir Punj were meeting the Commissioner on the basis that the direct transfers were a form of ‘voter bribery’ and were likely to influence results in the assembly polls.
Earlier BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said, “While people are reeling under inflation, Congress is only making efforts to take political mileage for nothing.”
The government has been trumpeting the ‘game changer’ scheme as its method for eliminating the country’s “incompetent Army of corrupt delivery agents” and has been rejecting charges that it will be used to buy votes.
“It has nothing to do with elections,” said Finance Minister P Chidambaram at a press conference, adding the move would help plug leakages and duplication in implementation of social sector schemes and result in savings for the government.
He rubbished the opposition’s charge of the cash transfers being an attempt to bribe the voters as ‘absurd’.
The ambitious direct cash transfer scheme will be officially launched from 1 January 2013. The programme covering 29 welfare schemes initially, will be rolled out in 51 districts across the country. It will be cascaded to 18 states by 1 April 2013, and the whole country by the end of 2013 or early 2014.