Complaints of Cross-Voting in Two States, Counting Stopped

It’s like repeating a picture from five years ago. That time the heat of Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat had reached Delhi. In the end, Ahmed Patel, the Congress leader and Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, won the Rajya Sabha election in the middle of the night after overcoming all allegations of cross-voting with the intervention of the Central Election Commission. This time too, the warring parties of Maharashtra and Haryana have approached the Election Commission alleging cross-voting. The counting of Rajya Sabha votes in those two states was closed till 11 pm. The counting in Haryana and Maharashtra began at around 12.45 am on the instructions of the commission.

Elections were held in two constituencies in Haryana yesterday. In that state, Congress fielded Ajay Maken and BJP Krishan Lal Panwar in one seat. There were nine additional BJP votes. Partner Jananayek Janata Party’s 10 MLAs also said they would vote for BJP’s second candidate Kartikeya Sharma. Voting began at 9 a.m. yesterday. State Chief Minister and BJP leader Manohar Lal Khattar’s demand was, 2 Congress MLAs Kiran Choudhry and B B Batra had broken the voting rules.

BJP’s Complaint

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Later, BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat met the officials of the Election Commission demanding cancellation of those two votes. Coming out at the end of the meeting, Naqvi said, “In Rajya Sabha polls, voters can only show the party agents who they voted for. But the two Congress MLAs showed the JJP agents too in addition to their party agents. That is against the rules. Therefore, the party has demanded cancellation of their votes.” Later that night, BJP candidate Kartikeya Sharma wrote a separate letter demanding cancellation of the two votes. Kartikeya, the owner of an electronic media, is Manu Sharma’s brother who convicted in the murder of Jessica Lal.

Congress’s defence

Congress, on the other hand, claims that those two votes are valid. After the BJP leaders, Congress leaders Pawan Bansal and Vivek Tankha met the commission officials. They told the commission that the returning officer in charge of the voting had seen the video of the two MLAs voting. No violation of their rules was found there. Therefore, the Congress leaders requested to start counting immediately. Later, Congress candidate Ajay Maken sent a letter to the commission demanding the same. According to sources, the commission officials are scrutinizing the video recordings of the polls to check whether the allegations against the two MLAs are true or not. The commission said the count would begin after that.

On the other hand, there was tension in Maharashtra since the morning. Yesterday, the Bombay High Court had informed that jailed NCP MLAs Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh could not take part in yesterday’s polls in the CBI-ED case. The BJP has also given candidates for 1 additional seat in that state. As a result, the political parties have been working hard to ensure that the votes of their candidates fall in the house of the party candidates from the morning.