Congress rendered financially handicapped through tax terror: Jairam Ramesh on freezing of party bank accounts

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh accused the BJP government of freezing party bank accounts, rendering it economically handicapped before elections. Ramesh alleged BJP was illegally collecting funds through electoral bonds. He praised Rahul Gandhi's yatras and vowed to continue ideological fights despite challenges.

THANE: Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh on Saturday accused the BJP-led government of conducting a "surgical strike" on his party by freezing its bank accounts ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, saying it was rendered "economically handicapped" through "tax terror". Addressing a press conference here as part of Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, he also alleged that the ruling party was illegally collecting funds through electoral bonds. The Congress' main bank accounts were frozen last month over an income tax demand of Rs 210 crore. "BJP has done a surgical strike on Congress by freezing its bank accounts ahead of the general elections. We have no money to fight polls or prepare our election campaign. Even the money collected through crowd funding cannot be used. Congress has been made economically handicapped through tax terror," Ramesh alleged.

Gandhi's both yatras have been good for the party organisation and the country, he said. "Rahul Gandhi covered 6,000 km of the country. It is fight of the Rs 6,000 cr electoral bonds of the BJP versus 6,000 km of the Congress. His second yatra started on January 14 near Imphal and is culminating in Mumbai today at the Chaitya Bhoomi, the memorial of Dr B R Ambedkar," he said.

Ramesh described the yatra as an ideological exercise taken out by a political party. "Our ideological fight will continue," he said. "On December 28 last year, we held a rally in Nagpur with the theme - 'Hai tayyar hum' (We are ready). We are ready to electorally fight the BJP and continue ideological fight with the RSS," he said. He said more such yatras will be organised in future.

Ramesh said it was not right to criticise Congress over its stand on electoral bonds scheme as it was not in a position to award contracts at the national level and also the central probe agencies were not controlled by it.

"If you see the data available now, electoral bonds are used to national level contracts, to threaten corporate houses with probe agencies, to seek bribes after contracts are awarded and to form shell companies, so that no information can be accessed," he charged.