Shimla, March 8
BJP candidate from Bhoranj Assembly in 2022 state elections, recently, knocked the door of Himachal Pradesh High court by filling Election Petition against Congress MLA Suresh Kumar who defeated the petioner by a margin of 60 votes.
Dr Anil Dhiman who is son of former BJP Minister late Iswar Dass Dhiman has challenged that returning officer has rejected 248 service votes during counting of 1926 postal ballots.
Petioner filed the petition on January 3, 2023 mainly challenged that out of 1996 postal votes only 1744 was declared valid as Dhiman (Petitioner) got 734 votes and respondent Suresh Kumar 862.
Petioner challenged the decision of Returning offiicers to not accept the repeated objection on the rejection of 248 votes allegedly polled in favour of Anil Dhiman.
Election Agent of the petitioner requested the R.O. to re-verify and re-count the Postal ballots but it was ignored to favour the Congress candidate. Petioner said that his election agent was present on the spot, has personally seen that most of the rejected Postal Ballots were in favor of the petitioner and they were wrongly rejected.
In the overall polling Anil Dhiman got 24719 votes and respondent Suresh Kumar 24779 therefore latter was declared elected by wafer thin margin of 60 votes. The petioners has challenged the counting of postal ballot.
He also quoted a Election Commission instructions of 2015 that plea of his Election agent to reverify the rejected votes by RO however it was mandatory for the RO to re-verify and re-count these 1996 Postal Ballots. He stated in the petition that R.O. has not re – verified and re – counted these postal ballots. No opportunity was given to the petitioner to see and check these Postal Ballots.
Petitioner said that not accepting reverification of rejected votes R.O. has committed grave illegality and the same is desired to be rectified by recounting the Postal Ballots and then if the petitioner gets maximum number of votes, he should be declared as elected candidate from Bhoranj S.C. Assembly Constituency.
Petioner also showed reservation on the confusion and hooliganism created by the unauthorized persons. Petioner also stated in the EP that on counting day the counting of votes started in Government Senior Secondary School Bhoranj for Bhoranj Constituency. The Postal Ballots were taken up at 8:00 A.M. and their counting continued up to 8:30 A.M. By this time, up to 8:30 A.M. , only some of the Postal Ballots were counted and the counting of remaining Postal Ballots was deferred. At 8:30 A.M., the Returning Officer ( hereinafter called as R.O. ) started the counting of votes of Electronic Voting Machine, which continued up to at about 1:30 P.M. Thereafter, at about 2:00 P.M. , the counting of remaining Postal Ballots was started. Some of the Postal Ballots were from the defence staff from the Border and others were also of the Himachal Pradesh service Employees. But by this time, the results of most of the constituencies were announced and the trend was towards the winning of Congress Party.
In view of this trend, the workers of the Congress Party. (unauthorized persons) gathered over there, forcibly entered into the Counting Hall, which created a complete confusion in the Counting Hall. The R.O. immediately started protecting the Postal Ballot Papers, EVM and other material.
Seeking re-election of booth no. 95, petioner said that EVM of that booth was brought from the Strong Room to the Counting Hall. At that time, it was revealed that the EVM of Booth No. 95 was already active. The EVM was shutdown and rebooted (re-started) by the technical personnel. This fact was noticed by everybody present in the Counting Hall and it has been duly videographed and is in the record of the Election Commission. This fact has also been noted in writing in the records of the Election Commission. The EVM of booth no. 95 has been tampered with and the votes of petitioner have been transferred to Respondent No. 1. In these circumstances, the votes of Booth No. 95 could not have been counted and there should have been the fresh elections on this Booth No. 95.
Petioner also accused Congress MLA for concealing information in his Election affidavit. He said that objection was filed by the petitioner during nomination to reject the nomination of Congress MLA but it was also rejected by the Election Commission. He said that Respondent concealed information in his self sworn affidavit stating that no criminal case is pending against him however a complaint filed by Balbir Singh against Suresh Kumar on dated 30.11.2017 under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is pending in the Court of Learned Judicial Magistrate 1st Class , Court No. III , Hamirpur H.P. Petioner seeking declaring Election of Suresh Kumar null and void also alleged that he also concealed information about Bank account. Two similar Petition of Postal ballots was also filed by Congress candidate and former Minister Ram Lal Thakur for declaring Naindadevi Election of BJP MLA Randhir Sharma null and void and Bambar Thakur challenged the election of BJP MLA Tarilok Jamwal on similar grounds.