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Second home pinches Rahul

Rahul Gandhi

Lucknow, April 3: Rahul Gandhi loves to call Amethi his “second home” but the district administration has rejected an application seeking a domicile certificate for the local MP.

The Congress vice-president’s aides said this would not prevent him from opening a bank account in his constituency to meet the Election Commission’s new rules.

Amethi district authorities cited two reasons for rejecting the application, which had sought a “temporary residential certificate”.

One was technical: a local Congress worker, Rajendra Singh, had signed the application on Rahul’s behalf instead of Rahul signing it himself.

The second was a revenue official’s rejection of the claim in the application that Rahul had been residing temporarily at the Sanjay Gandhi Guesthouse in Amethi’s Munshiganj area.

Party sources said Rahul indeed stayed at the guesthouse during his constituency visits. But the revenue official, assigned by subdivisional magistrate N.D. Ram to verify the claim, said Rahul did not regularly live there and that the certificate could not be granted anyway as “the place of residence shown is a government guesthouse”.

Ajay Singh, a high court lawyer in Lucknow, said the revenue official was right on both counts.

“To get a domicile certificate, one must be living in (one’s own home or) a rented accommodation in that locality and furnish proof of continuous residence, such as a gas or power connection,” he said.

Election Commission rules say that the transactions for all poll-related funding and expenses should be done though a bank account in a candidate’s own constituency.

One need not be a local resident to open a bank account but Congress sources said that Rahul had insisted on showing a local address.

Sources in Rae Bareli said Sonia Gandhi had opened a bank account in her constituency last month on the basis of her address in Delhi.

Kishori Lal Sharma, Congress worker and Gandhi family representative in Amethi and Rae Bareli, accused the district administration of deliberately sowing confusion.

“They should have provided us with the certificate as Rahul Gandhi has been residing here temporarily,” he told The Telegraph. “Now we’ll get a bank account opened without the local address.” Polling is scheduled for May 7.