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97% political cases filed by ED are against opposition: Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Shiv Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi on Tuesday said 97 per cent political cases filed by the Enforcement Directorate are against opposition leaders, while the conviction rate is just two-three per cent.

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Speaking at the Lokmat National Conclave here, Chaturvedi raised concerns about the state of democracy in the country. She alleged that there is a decline in democracy and referred to the suspension of 146 MPs in Parliament during the winter session.

"When does democracy come under threat?... If we ask about price rise, they call us anti-national, if we ask about unemployment, we are called anti-nationals... If we ask sharper questions, we will be suspended," she said.

Chaturvedi claimed that ED investigations have increased four times since the BJP came to power in 2014 and 97 per cent cases are against the opposition leaders. Conviction rate stands at two-three per cent, she added.

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"Since 2014, when they (BJP) came (to power), ED investigations have seen a four times increase. The increase is on (raids on) opposition... But who is giving a clean chit to those who join the BJP? What did the PM say about Ajit Pawar? In one election rally, he said the NCP is a Naturally Corrupt Party. In 48 hours, he (Pawar) joined BJP and all files closed," she said.

Asked if democracy is "dead" in the country, she said, "Is democracy dead in India? Is democracy dead in Russia? They have elections and people vote. But why do they vote? Who do they vote for? The reason I am making this comparison is because sooner or later we will have a scene. Maybe you are not envisaging it but we in the opposition are. That you will have an election but you will have no opposition because the opposition is in jail." She also alleged "institutionalised corruption" under the BJP.

"Municipal Corporation in Mumbai has had no election for two years, this non-elected body has more budget than five states... Under BMC contingency funds, Rs 5 crore was given to every corporator when they changed sides. This is not BJP's money. The oposition is not given money," she said.

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Chautrvedi was referring to Shiv Sena members who joined the Eknath Shinde faction after the party split.

She also cornered the government over the suspension of MPs during the winter session and said, "Why just 150? They can suspend all MPs and put a lock on Parliament. The government needs to respect democratic processes. Whichever government is in power should listen to its people. If people of this country are feeling unhappy, the opposition should be able to raise it," she said.

Asked about Prime Minister Modi's remark in Lok Sabha that the BJP will win 370 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, she said, "(Finance Minister) Nirmala Sitharaman has not put any GST on dreams so far... Or people may think there is some setting of the EVMs".

On Ram Mandir, the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader said, "Wholeheartedly as an Indian citizen, as a member of a political party, all I will say is I welcomed the Supreme Court judgment that gave me the Ram Mandir." She added that "secularism" is not a bad word and reiterated that BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri called MP Danish Ali a "terrorist" on the floor of the Lok Sabha.

"Ramesh Bidhuri called an MP terrorist because of his religion. Does any religion teach that? Was any action taken?" she said. PTI AO AO KSS KSS

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