Congress leader alleges Rs 100 cr given to buy Rajya Sabha seat

Congress leader alleges Rs 100 cr given to buy Rajya Sabha seat

 Two senior politicians have joined a debate over money power in politics and raised the issue of  Rajya Sabha seats being “bought” by moneyed people, sometimes for Rs 100 crore a seat.

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member from Haryana Birender Singh stirred a controversy on Sunday that certain people were paying Rs 100 crore to “buy” a Rajya Sabha seat.

Addressing a gathering in Haryana’s Yamunanagar on Sunday, the veteran leader claimed he knew names of 20 people who had “paid” to get into the Rajya Sabha. He had said, “Not one, but I will give you names of 20 such people.”

Singh, in his public addresses, claimed that a Rajya Sabha member had told him that his budget to become a Rajya Sabha member was Rs 100 crore. He said his work was done in Rs 80 crore and he saved Rs 20 crore. “People who spend Rs 100 crore to enter the Rajya Sabha, will they ever think about this poor country?” he had asked.

Backing this view, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav on Monday said, “The situation is deteriorating in politics. People now enter Parliament through the influence of money. Businessmen have made it to the Rajya Sabha. The JD-U has repeatedly raised this issue.”

However, on Monday, Birender Singh, a former Haryana minister and grandson of Haryana’s stalwart Sir Chhotu Ram, said his statement was misread. “I meant that only millionaires should not become Rajya Sabha members. There is no one to look after the interest of the poor,” he said. He cited the examples of crorepatis in Lok Sabha after 2009 elections.

Singh’s statement, despite his denial, has given the BJP and other Opposition parties an issue on the platter to take on the Congress.

The BJP asked Birender Singh to furnish proof. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) said, “from Birender Singh’s statement, it is now proved beyond doubt that the party sells its posts.” The party demanded clarification from the Congress.

Birender Singh had lost last Assembly elections to INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala. He was Congress general secretary in charge of Himachal Pradesh, but removed from the post in recent reshuffle. He is known for his controversial  remarks.

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