C Times, 19 August 2017, Agartala
Balwantsinh Rajput, the BJP candidate who narrowly lost the Rajya Sabha election, has moved the Gujarat High Court, challenging the victory of Congress’s candidate Ahmed Patel and seeking his disqualification.
He has also challenged the Election Commission’s decision to invalidate the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs. The High Court on Friday slated the hearing on Rajput’s petition on Monday.
Rajput, who was Congress Chief Whip before resigning from the Assembly and joining BJP, had lost to Ahmed Patel after the EC declared the votes of Raghavji Patel and Bhola Gohel as invalid, giving an advantage to Congress.
Following the voting for three Rajya Sabha seats on August 8, Congress had moved the election panel in New Delhi. Congress claiming the two MLAs showed their ballots not only to Congress’s polling agent but also to the polling agent of BJP in violation of the procedure.
The party took the matter to New Delhi after the returning officer rejected its objection. After the EC ordered in favour of Congress, results were declared with Ahmed Patel securing 44 votes and Rajput getting only 38 votes.
Rajput has challenged the Election Commission’s order on the ground that once the returning officer had rejected the objection raised by the Congress leaders, the poll panel had no power to issue any direction to the returning officer for accepting or rejecting any vote.
The petition was filed through senior advocates Satya Pal Jain and Devang Vyas.