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India: Opposition says BJP froze its accounts ahead of vote

Congress, India’s main opposition party, has said it has been crippled ahead of elections starting next month. It accused Modi’s ruling party of freezing its bank accounts.

India’s Congress party said on Thursday that all of its bank accounts had been frozen as the country gears up for the world’s largest election.

Rahul Gandhi, a former head of the party, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was behind the move and said that it was stifling democracy.

‘No democracy in India today’

The party’s accounts were partially frozen earlier this month in connection with a tax case going back to 2017-2018, but Gandhi said on Thursday that all of the party’s accounts were now frozen.

Being cut off from its finances leaves the party unable to campaign ahead of the six-week-long general election that is set to start on April 19.

“We can’t support our workers, and our candidates and leaders can’t travel by air or train,” the Congress party figure told reporters. “20% of India votes for us and we can’t even pay two rupees for anything. It has been orchestrated to cripple us in the elections.

“This is a criminal action on the Congress party done by the prime minister and the home minister,” he added. “The idea that India is a democracy is a lie. There is no democracy in India today.”

Easy win projected for BJP

The election will be drawn out over seven phases, with different states voting at different times.

Most opinion polls predict a comfortable win for Modi’s far-right BJP. Congress — which is leading a number of opposition parties going into the election — is seen as the main opposition.

While Congress dominated Indian politics for decades after the country won independence from the British Empire — ruling for 54 of past 76 years — its popularity has sunk to historic lows following Modi’s rise to power in 2014.

Modi and the BJP’s Hindu nationalism has seen the world’s biggest democracy teeter towards authoritarianism amid restrictions on the media and attacks on India’s large Muslim minority.

Source: Dw

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