Stung by the surprise defeat of party-backed candidate R.K. Anand in the Haryana Rajya Sabha polls, the Congress on Monday demanded an independent probe into the June 11 elections, saying there was a “criminal conspiracy involved” and also demanded the poll be countermanded.
The Congress also demanded that if the “pen” used for the balloting was replaced, as is being alleged, then a complaint should be lodged in this regard.
The Congress delegation led by General Secretary-in charge B.K. Hariprasad, R.K. Anand, Vivek Tankha, and Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar met the Election Commission and submitted a memorandum.
“It was a criminal conspiracy to undermine the electoral process by the BJP. We demand not only the contermanding of that election but also a thorough probe into it. Each vote under the law was seen by the authorized representative (B.K. Hariprasad).
“So all the Congress MLAs had marked their votes in favour of the candidate we were supporting,” said senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma.
Media baron Subhash Chandra — an Independent candidate supported by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party — was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Haryana, defeating Congress-backed Independent R.K. Anand. Chandra got 24 votes while Anand managed 15.
As many as 14 Congress votes were rejected in the 90-member assembly.
“Voters don’t take their own pens, even the mobile phones are kept outside. You go inside a polling booth and the pen is there; you tick and leave it there. It is the responsibility of the EC to keep the pen, and not any political party. If it has been changed, then an FIR should be registered,” Sharma firmly added.
According to a party source, the pen was allegedly replaced by the last Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, who took the original pen and left another pen there.
The replaced pen was used by the Congress legislators to mark the ballot, and their vote was later invalidated. The party source also added that the original pen was reportedly left at its original position by the last voter, who was an Independent MLA.
“Those whose votes were invalidated belong not to just one faction, but to the Congress and all… some of the staunch loyalists of Hooda’s (Bhupinder Singh Hooda) votes were found valid. All this must come through a probe and we also demand that an FIR must be registered for this criminal conspiracy against the BJP-supported candidate (Subhash Chandra). It’s a criminal act,” said Sharma.
“EC must ensure that the FIR is registered and the election is countermanded. It is the responsibility of the EC to ensure free and fair election. It’s a constitutional mandate. We will not let go off this situation,” he added.
Party sources also alleged that Hooda had left the ballot paper blank. The party High Command had also sought a report from Pradesh Congress Committee on the entire episode.
Asked if Hooda was give a clean chit, Sharma replied: “Congress has an internal mechanism where these issues are looked into. Congress has succeeded in getting the details to unearth the criminal conspiracy.”