Congress, JMM seek review of cancellation of RS poll

Ranchi, March 31 : Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) have sought review of the Election Commission’s move to recommend to President Pratibha Patil for cancellation of two Rajya Sabha polls held Friday.

Amid reports of horse trading in the Rajya Sabha (RS) polls, the Election Commission (EC) Friday stopped the counting of votes for two seats from Jharkhand after money was seized from a car belonging to an independent candidate’s relative and recommended to President Patil that the poll notification be cancelled.


The income tax department in Jharkhand had earlier seized Rs.2.15 crore from an Innova car coming to Ranchi from Jamshedpur on the outskirts of the city, suspected to be pay offs for getting a favourable vote from some legislators.


Seeking review of the recommendation, Jharkhand Congress President and candidate of Rajya Sabha, Pradeep Balmuchu told reporters: “The EC should review the decision. We do not know the content of the report sent to EC. What EC was briefed needs to looked into.”

JMM, which was confident of winning the poll after BJP supported its candidate Sanjiv Kumar, has also sought review of the decision. “We are hurt by recommendation of the EC. The EC should review its decision and president should look into all aspects of the poll,” said Supriyo Bhattacharya, general secretary of JMM.

The poll panel, in a statement, said it was “satisfied” that that biennial election process for two Rajya Sabha seats had been “seriously vitiated” and consequently, it recommended to the president to rescind the notification for the elections.

Five candidates, including two independents, were in the fray. The five candidates are Sanjiv Kumar of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Pradeep Balmuchu of the Congress, Praveen Kumar Singh of the Jharkhand Vikash Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P), and two independents – R.K. Agarwal and Pawan Kumar Dhut.

The EC statement said 79 of the 81 legislators voted in the polls and three of them — Vishnu Bhaiya of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), K.N. Tripathi of Congress, and Suresh Paswan of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) — showed their ballots to people who were not their respective party polling agents, thus violating the polling process.

This had resulted in the suspicion that there could be pay offs, the EC said.

JVM-P has welcomed the EC decision regarding cancellation of the RS poll.

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