Palitana municipality polls: Prospective Cong candidates move HC after mandate forms torn by ‘disgruntled elements of opposing party’

The respondents in the case include the State Election Commission, Election Officer, Bhavnagar District Collector and the Police Inspector of Palitana town.

Thirty-two prospective Congress candidates for the Palitana municipality polls in Bhavnagar have moved the Gujarat High Court Sunday seeking an urgent hearing after their mandate forms, to be submitted with nomination papers, were “torn up for reasons beyond their control and on account of absolutely malicious and unfair intervention on the part of disgruntled elements of the opposing party”.

The petitioners, represented by advocate Anand Yagnik, submitted that “such disgruntled elements, by tearing apart the mandate forms of the petitioners, prevented them from submitting their mandate well within the scheduled time in accordance with the law. This unprecedented situation took place on the premises of the Nagar Palika Office, which is also under CCTV (camera) surveillance, yet the respondents have chosen to turn a blind eye to it, so as to facilitate uncontested elections to ensure the smooth victory of the members of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who are contesting the local body elections”.

The respondents in the case include the State Election Commission, Election Officer, Bhavnagar District Collector and the Police Inspector of Palitana town.

The mandate forms had to be submitted by 3 pm on February 13 along with the nomination papers for the municipality elections, scheduled for February 28. “However, around 2.30 pm (on February 13) when the petitioners were about to submit their mandate, the disgruntled elements of the opposing party tore apart the forms, which prevented the petitioners from submitting their mandate well within the time schedule, in accordance with the law,” the petition further states.

While the 32 aggrieved petitioners had filed the mandate form subsequently, the submission time was recorded to be 5 pm, which was well past the deadline.

The urgent hearing was sought on the ground that February 15 (Monday) was the last day for scrutinising of forms by the election officer and if the aggrieved petitioners’ forms are not accepted, it would result in an uncontested victory on the seats for the BJP-affiliated candidates, the petitioners stated.

The petitioners have sought that they are permitted to contest the election and that the High Court may hold and declare such “malicious and unfair prevention and intervention by opponents and disgruntled elements” as unconstitutional.

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