April 22, 2015 12:53:54 am
Fearing a breach of secrecy in the mayor polls, the Congress has written to Lieutenant-Governor requesting that he intervene and provide EVMs for the election.
Alleging that the BJP, the ruling party could, “by abusing its official position, influence/pressure the municipal secretary and take ballot papers and carry out scrutiny of the same”, leader of the opposition Farhad Suri said this breached the right to secrecy guaranteed to a voter under the Representation of People Act.
“I have requested the L-G, as well as the Chief Minister and the State Election Commissioner to provide EVMs that cannot be scrutinised after polls and, therefore, the councillors who vote are not threatened in any manner,” Suri said.
He is in the fray for the mayor post along with standing committee chairman of South Corporation Subhash Arya.
South Corporation is expected to see a stiff competition between the Congress and the BJP. In the previous mayor elections, the Congress had secured 51 votes, despite having a House strength of just 36. This had led to the BJP alleging that cross-voting has taken place and the party had ordered an internal inquiry in the matter.
In his letter, Suri also requested that in the event that EVMs could not be provided, the voters “should not be permitted to carry any sample ballot papers nor any device whereby photos of the ballot paper can be taken”.
Meanwhile, the BJP has stated that the allegations of cross-voting are wrong and secrecy cannot be imposed in mayor elections. “Three mayors have been elected before this, why is the Congress making such demands now,” Arya asked.
He said the BJP could have suspended members who allegedly cross-voted but it was the BSP councillors and independents who voted for Congress candidate.
The South Municipal Corporation is scheduled to elect its new mayor and deputy mayor on Friday. Members of the standing committee will also be elected on the same day.
In the South Corporation, the BJP has 50 councillors, Congress 36, the AAP 3 and the BSP 2. In addition, the BJP has four Lok Sabha MPs and the Congress has one Rajya Sabha MP, who are nominated members to the Corporation and are eligible to vote. Besides them, five AAP MLAs are also eligible to vote.
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