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2 ballots for 2 RS seats: Cong cries foul

June 16, 2019 04:52 AM


2 ballots for 2 RS seats: Cong cries foul
Says EC’s move to hold separate elections will facilitate BJP’s victory on the seats vacated by Amit Shah and Smriti Irani after their win in Lok Sabha elections this year; RS polls for these seats on July 5
Ahmedabad Mirror Bureau
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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has declared elections to two Rajya Sabha seats vacated by BJP MPs Amit Shah and Smriti Irani after they won the Lok Sabha elections last month. While Shah was sworn in as Union Home Minister, Irani took over as Textiles and Women & Child Development minister.

As per the ECI, the notification will be issued on June 18, last date of sending nominations is June 25 and elections will be held on July 5.

Both Shah and Irani had won the Rajya Sabha polls held in August 2017. Controversy erupted after ECI decided to conduct the elections for both the seats separately. The move is being seen by the opposition as a bid to facilitate the victory of BJP on both the seats. The Congress has decided to make representation to the ECI after taking legal opinion. The opposition party may also approach the court to challenge the ECI’s move.

Sources in the opposition claim that if the elections are held together in a single ballot paper, BJP may lose a seat and Congress may gain one, looking at the number of MLAs. However, if the elections are held separately, BJP will win. According to seat calculations, to win the RS elections in Gujarat, a candidate must get 61votes. If any MLA votes single time, his or her vote would be counted only once and s/he will not able to cast second vote. Since Congress has 71 MLAs in Gujarat Assembly, this arrangement would mean that the party’s candidate would win the election.

But as per the ECI notification, MLAs would have to vote separately, meaning they would get the chance to vote twice. In this scenario, all BJP MLAs, numbering more than 100, would vote for both their candidates, while the Congress candidate would get the votes of just 71 MLAs. This would mean confirmed victory of both the BJP candidates.

“It is an unprecedented move. We are studying the notification and will take legal opinion to decide the future course of action,” said Paresh Dhanani, leader of Opposition.

He said that both RS seats fell vacant at the same time and hence, as per statute, election to both seats should be held together. He said, “As per section 147 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, elections should be held together. In these polls, two separate ballot papers will be given, increasing BJP’s chance of winning both seats.”

The ECI has cited a verdict given by the Delhi High Court behind giving reason to hold the separate polls. “Holding of separate elections has been upheld by the Delhi High Court in Civil W.P. no 32 of 1994 (A.K. Walia Vs. Union of India & others and W.P. no 9357 of 2006 (Satya Pal Malik Vs. Election Commission of India) by its decision dated 14.01.1994 & 20.01.2009 respectively

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