The Electoral Commission, in its post-midnight order, said it would allow vote counting to begin in Maharashtra after ordering the returning officer to reject the vote cast by Shiv Sena MLA Suhas Kande. The EC has also cleared the start of counting for Rajya Sabha seats in Haryana.
“The commission allows counting for RS seats in Haryana. With regard to Maharashtra, the Commission passes a detailed order after analyzing the report of the RO/Observer/Special Observer and viewing the video footage, orders the RO to reject the vote cast by Sh Suhas Kande, MLA and authorizes the counting of votes to start, the spokesman for the electoral commission said.
In Maharashtra, the contest for the sixth Rajya Sabha seat has turned into a battle between Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Pawar and BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik, both from Kolhapur. Both parties are sparing no effort to muster the support of their candidates to meet the 42-vote requirement that will get them elected to the Upper House of Parliament.
In its order, EC noted: “In view of the above complaints and the counter-complaints of BJP, INC, NCP and Shiv Sena, the Commission deemed it appropriate to obtain the video recording of the voting process to verify the actual facts relating to the above complaints. Accordingly, the relevant portions of the video recording were obtained by the Board from the OR. The RO only forwarded the relevant portion of the video recording which showed the votes cast by said MPs,” he said.
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“The Commission has carefully considered the complaints and counter-complaints of both political parties, the RO/Observer/Special Observer report reflects the factual position as observed from the video recording,” it said. he adds.
The BJP, which has 106 MPs in the House, has 30 excess votes and needs the support of 12 lawmakers from small parties and independents to elect Mahadik, its third candidate. The Sena is counting on the excess votes of its allies, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The surplus votes of the three ruling coalition parties stand at 31, leaving the Sena still short of 11 votes to elect Pawar, its second candidate.
In Haryana, BJP candidate Krishan Lal Panwar appeared set to enter the Rajya Sabha, although uncertainty reigned over the second seat, with the vote count suspended on Friday after party candidate Safran and the JJP-backed independent candidate urged the electoral commission. to nullify the votes of two congressmen.
Panwar and independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma sent a missive to the EC alleging that Congress MPs Kiran Choudhary and BB Batra showed their ballot papers to unauthorized persons after marking them and that the episodes were “duly captured ” by the camera installed for the purposes of the election. The charge was dismissed by returning officer RK Nandal, who said he found no “breach of privacy/secrecy of the ballot” by the two MPs.