Fact Check | Is Rahul Gandhi not using MPLADS funds for Wayanad's development?

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Photo: PTI

A post alleging that Rahul Gandhi, the Congress MP from the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, is not using his MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds is circulating on social media. The post is being shared with the caption, “The people of Wayanad are watching, right?"

Using keywords, Manorama Online found a video report by the Kairali Channel on this. The report highlights the response to an RTI filed by Raju Vazhakkala to the Public Information Officer at the Wayanad District Collector’s office. The questions in the RTI petition were these:

1. How much money has Rahul Gandhi, the MP from Wayanad, spent so far from the MP fund?
2. The year-wise spent and the name of the project.
3. Which are the projects undertaken using MP’s fund and how much has been sanctioned for each?
4. Which are the ongoing or incomplete projects and how much funding has been sanctioned for each of these projects?
5. How much is the total amount (in crores) that has been sanctioned so far?

The now-viral post claims that Rs17 crore was sanctioned for the MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), but only Rs 5 crore had been actually spent. The allegation is that the utilisation has been below 30%.

Raju Vazhakkala also stuck to the same version in the media report, initially. On contacting him, Raju Vazhakkala said there were certain ambiguities in the response by the designated officer and this caused the confusion. The District Planning Office’s response indicated that out of the Rs17 crore received as MP funds, only Rs 5 crore was spent. However, it was later clarified that these figures pertain only to the Wayanad district whereas the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency spans across three districts: Wayanad, Kozhikode, and Malappuram.

The RTI response only included details regarding the funds spent in Wayanad district alone. This information was misinterpreted and circulated incorrectly, Raju Vazhakkala clarified. Further investigation using keywords revealed more detailed explanations regarding Rahul Gandhi's MPLADS fund allocations, provided by Kalpetta MLA T. Siddique. 

The Wayanad parliamentary constituency includes not only the Wayanad district (three assembly constituencies), three in Malappuram, and one in Kozhikode. The misinformation spread by Kairali Channel was based on an RTI response that only accounted for the funds spent in the Wayanad district, without investigating further into the entire constituency.

Rahul Gandhi, the MP for Wayanad, has received a total of Rs17.21 crore as MPLADS funds. Proposals worth Rs 21.04 crore were submitted for the constituency, out of which Rs 17.21 had been approved. Rahul Gandhi's utilisation of MP funds, as per official records, is 123.43 per cent. These figures indicate that his utilisation is higher than that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s MP fund utilisation stands at 121.78 per cent. In comparison, Rahul Gandhi’s utilisation is higher than Amit Shah (62.67 per cent) and Smriti Irani (77.62 per cent). In Alappuzha, the only Lok Sabha constituency won by the CPI(M), AM Ariff, MP, used only 91 per cent of funds. 

Even though Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as MP from March 23 to August, his office was never closed. In addition to fully utilising his own MP fund, he also facilitated the allocation of funds from other Rajya Sabha MPs like Dr Amee Yajnik, Shri Kumar Ketkar, and Adv. Jebi Mather for various development projects in Wayanad.

In the Wayanad parliamentary constituency, Rahul Gandhi had initiated development projects worth over Rs 700 crore. These projects include the construction of roads under the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF), the development of NH 766, and the establishment of smart Anganwadis, utilising CSR funds.

A post clarifying these details was shared on MLA T Siddique’s Facebook page. To further verify this information, we contacted the District Planning Officer responsible for MP fund details in Wayanad.

The RTI response regarding Rahul Gandhi’s MP fund allocation only included information pertaining to the Wayanad district. The information being spread is based on the incomplete data from just the Wayanad district, not accounting for the entire constituency, district planning officer Manilal said. adding nearly Rs 17 crore had already been allocated from the MP fund for the whole constituency, countering the misleading information.

Fact: The claim that Rahul Gandhi is not allocating funds from the MPLADS in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency is based on misinformation.

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