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Cong vs BJP battle in Gujarat you know little about One clean bowled, 16 other BJP MLAs on sticky wicket

April 13, 2019 06:09 AM

COURTESY MIRRROR APRIL 13

Cong vs BJP battle in Gujarat you know little about
One clean bowled, 16 other BJP MLAs on sticky wicket
While HC terminated the election of Dwarka BJP MLA for error in nomination form, there are 16 other BJP MLAs and four Cong MLAs against whom election petitions are pending in HC
| Nikunj.Soni@timesgroup.com | TWEETS @NikunjMIRROR

Even as the political battle between Congress and BJP rages on ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in the biggest democracy of the world, another nailbiting combat is on between the two parties in Gujarat High Court in the form of election petitions.

The outcomes of these petitions, filed in 2018, threaten to change the game for the ruling party in Gujarat with victories of 16 of their MLAs challenged by Congress candidates. Some of the ‘biggies’ caught in legal tangle include ministers Saurabh Patel the cabinet , Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, former cabinet minister Babu Bokhiria and other prominent MLAs. As of today, the BJP has 99 MLAs after its Dwarka MLA’s election was declared void by the HC on Friday.


It may be recalled that in the 2017 assembly polls, the BJP, which has been in power in the state since1995, failed to touch its magic figure of 100. The BJP victories on several seats were of narrow margins, prompting the Congress to challenge these in Gujarat High Court.

In 2018, as many as 24 election petitions were filed before the HC; of these 17 were against BJP MLAs and four against Congress MLAs. The rest have been withdrawn by the petitioners. While Dwarka MLA Pabubha Manek has been disqualified by the HC following error in his nomination form, there now are 16 petitions pending before the high court; the one against Gujarat Law Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, the seniormost minister in the BJP government, is at a crucial stage.

CHUDASAMA VS RATHOD

During the recent hearing of Chudasama’s plea, Gujarat HC found violations in the election rules and sought reply from the Election Commission of India (ECI) and two government officials including Rajasthan cadre IAS official Vinita Bohra. Congress candidate Ashwin Rathod alleged irregularities in the counting of postal ballot votes at the Dholka assembly seat from where Chudasama won by 327 votes.

SAURABH PATEL VS DM KALATHIA

Energy minister Saurabh Patel had won from Botad constituency with thin margin of 906 votes. Congress candidate DM Patel (Kalathia) challenged Saurabh Patel’s victory by alleging that the Returning Officer (RO) violated rules and several irregularities cropped up during the counting. The petition is pending and likely to come up for hearing in the last week of this month.

“I have raised many issues in my petition. Recently, I submitted video footage before the HC and hearing will take place in end of this month,” Patel told Mirror. “The RO didn’t show me the postal ballot votes which is contrary to the rules. He said, there was a difference between number of votes cast and the final calculation of votes in the EVM at a couple of wards. The RO didn’t take into consideration my objections and declared the result,” DM Patel alleged. Saurabh Patel was not available for comment over the phone.

MODHWADIA VS BABU BOKHIRIA

Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee’s former president Arjun Modhwadia too has challenged victory of BJP MLA Babu Bokhiria from Porbandar. Former Irrigation minister Bokhiria won the polls with thin margin of 1,855. “I have challenged the victory saying VVPAT slips be counted as we have doubt over votes cast in EVMs. My petition has been not heard due to technical reasons but now I will file an application to restore my plea,” Modhvadia said while talking to Mirror.

Two other prominent faces against whom election petition has been filed are two-time MLAs Sangita Patil from Limbayat and Kishor Kanani from Varachha Road. Both the constituencies are in Surat and the Congress candidates who lost against them have challenged their victory before the HC. As many as 10 petitions have been filed by the Congress candidates through IPS officer-turned- lawyer Rahul Sharma.

“I have filed 10 petitions and except a couple of them, most are on the grounds of counting of VVPAT slips,” said Rahul Sharma while talking to Mirror. Former GPCC president Sidhharth Patel too has challenged victory of Shailesh Mehta of BJP from Dabhoi. Congress turned BJP leader CK Raolji’s victory has been challenged by Congress candidate Rajendra Parmar.

There are four Congress MLAs against whom petitions have been filed by independents. These MLAs are Shailesh Parmar (Danilimda), CJ Chavda (Gandhinagar North), Kirit Patel (Patan) and Geniben Thakor (Vav).

“This is the frustration of Congress as it has lost acceptance from the people. So, they keep complaining before the Election Commission and the court citing different technical reasons. They should abide by the people’s verdict in favour of BJP candidates,” said Dilip Sanghani, former cabinet minister of state and chairman of Gujcomasol.

He added, “This time also the BJP candidates will win all 26 seats in the parliamentary election and the Congress will repeat the same silly tactics. We have full faith in the judiciary.”

GPCC President Amit Chavda remained unavailable for comment.

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