NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Monday received two unprecedented petitions from two political parties — from the Congress which demanded the cancellation of elections to two Rajya Sabha seats from Haryana, and from the Trinamool Congress complaining about the bureaucratic transfers during the recent West Bengal polls.
Whether the poll panel can cross the line after the results have been notified is a grey area. During the 2006 “office of profit” row, the panel had retrospectively disqualified Jaya Bachhan from the Rajya Sabha.
It led to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s resignation from her Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat when it was cited that she was also chairperson of the National Advisory Council, also an office of profit.
The law was later amended by Parliament. The panel now has to similarly interpret the Representation of the People’s Act.
The Congress insisted that it was “a conspiracy by the Manoharlal Khatar government" that had led to the invalidation of 14 of the 17 votes of Congress MLAs, which helped BJP-backed independent Subash Chandra win. It, however, sidestepped the issue of the “blank ballot” of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The party alleged that a BJP legislator, Aseem Goyal, had switched the pen meant for marking the votes to spoil the 14 Congress votes. He alleged that Jai Prakash, an independent MLA, had taken away the original pen from the voting enclosure.
It, however, remained a mystery how three Congress votes, including of CLP leader Kiran Choudhury, not a Hooda acolyte, was valid. Vidhan Sabha Secretary said that a violet sketch pen tied to a thread had been provided to the legislators to mark votes and that the entire process was videographed.