Will challenge ECI decision of cancelling two votes in Supreme Court: BJP candidate Balwantsinh

Gandhinagar: BJP will legally challenge the decision of Election Commission in which votes of two rebel Congress MLAs were held invalid yesterday, said party’s Rajya Sabha candidate Balwantsinh Rajput who lost the poll due to this decision of Election Commission which according to him was taken under Congress pressure.

Rajput lost the Rajya Sabha because cancellation of two votes by Election Commission order in response to Congress demand brought down the winning mark to 44 instead of 45 votes and awarded victory to Congress candidate Ahmed Patel who had secured 44 votes. If two votes that were in favour of BJP candidate were not cancelled, the victory mark would be 45 first preference votes. Ahmed Patel with 44 votes could have to win through second preference votes then and in such case Balwantsinh Rajput would have been victorious as he had high number of second preference votes in his kitty.

Speaking at a press conference at State BJP headquarters today evening, Rajput said Congress polling agent Shaktisinh Gohil had started creating disputes and objections since morning on polling day. When rebel Congress MLA Bholabhai Gohil cast vote in favor of BJP candidate and showed ballot to polling agent Shaktisinh as per the rue of open ballot system, Shaktisinh got angry and scold Bholabhai. He had not shown the ballot to anyone else and put it in ballot box. Another rebel Congress MLA Raghavjibhai faced similar behavior from Shaktisinh.

Rajput further sad that when Raghavjibhai showed his ballot to Shaktisinh as per the rule, Shaktisinh stood up and gripped Raghavjibhai’s hand in attempt to snatch the ballot. Shaktisinh had no right to stood up and do this. This was against the rule. Shaktisinh provoked both MLAs and behaved against the rule. Later he misled the election commission by making allegations against the BJP.

Rajput said more Congress leaders are going to join the BJP in coming days.

He said he would manage to get required papers from the election commission and file appeal in the Supreme Court with all evidences regarding cancellation of two votes.

It should be mentioned that last night, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and State BJP president Jitubhai Vaghani had also said they were not in agreement with the election commission order to invalidate two votes of rebel Congress MLAs as the MLAs were clearly not in fault. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel had asked Election Commission to release the videos of both MLAs so that people could know that they had not shown their ballots to anyone other than polling agent.

The video clips are already viral on social media and there’s lot of outrage on the issue. However in all practicality, it has been experienced in the past that cases challenging the elections generally don’t bring result till next election or even beyond that.

It’s worth noting here that yesterday the counting of Rajya Sabha polls was to start at 5.00 pm but Congress was adamant that counting should start only after two votes of rebel Congress MLAs are invalidated. Top ministers from BJP visited Election Commission office thrice in response to three delegations of top Congress leaders that visited the Election Commission office. The local Returning Officer and Observer had overruled the Congress demand, but 11.30 pm order signed by the Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti from Delhi in its controversial decision ordered invalidation of two votes.

This single decision made a way for Congress candidate Ahmed Patel’s victory. If two votes were considered valid, the victory margin would have been 45 votes which was not achieved by Ahmed Patel.


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