RS Polls: Hooda demands thorough inquiry by EC

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Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today demanded a thorough inquiry by the Election Commission, including a forensic examination of the pens with which the votes were cast, a day after votes of 14 legislators were cancelled leading to victory of a BJP-backed Independent candidate.
“Never before I have heard or even imagined that conspiracy of this level could be hatched. I can say with firm belief that a conspiracy was hatched to enable victory of BJP-backed candidate (media baron Subhash Chandra),” Hooda told reporters here.
Demanding forensic examination of the pens used to cast votes, Hooda said the Election Commission should conduct a thorough inquiry.
Chandra defeated Independent candidate R K Anand, who had the backing of both INLD and Congress.
“In a democratic set-up, if such conspiracies are allowed to succeed, then our democracy will be in danger,” he said.
“I have demanded that the matter needs to be probed.
R K Anand should file an election petition,” Hooda said. Both Congress and INLD have pointed fingers at each other after 14 votes, which according to Haryana’s Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma and Leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala were of the Congress, were found to be invalid.
After his party backed Independent candidate Anand faced defeat, leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly and INLD leader Chautala had blamed Congress and claimed, “Congress party’s 14 votes were rejected because they registered their votes with another pen other than the one provided by the Returning Officer to record their votes in the voting compartment.” Anand also blamed the former chief minister and said that barring one, all the rest 18 INLD legislators had cast vote in his favour, “but Hooda and party of the Congress have ditched”. Hooda sought to clear the air, saying he has demanded a probe to unearth the conspiracy.
“When our MLAs went to cast vote, their pens and mobile phones were deposited outside the polling area. They cast votes with the same pen which was kept inside. Our poll observer B K Hariprasad was shown the votes which were being cast by our party legislators.
“So, how this conspiracy was hatched, it is easy to find out if Anand files the petition and within 24 hours one will get to know the truth behind entire conspiracy,” Hooda said. “Forensic test will bring out the truth. Result can come in 24 hours and this pen mystery will be solved. It can be easily known which was the pen used to cast votes by 12 of our MLAs, forensic science will tell if the same pen was used or the ink was changed later on,”
Hooda said.
Replying to a question, Hooda said that there can be two possibilities, either the ruling BJP and official machinery are hand-in-glove or the INLD is involved in the whole thing, which only an inquiry will reveal.
Chandra had got only 15 votes and Anand had 21 votes as first preference in the final count, but BJP MLAs had listed the media baron as their second preference which helped him to scrape through. Union Minister and BJP leader Birender Singh comfortably won the other Rajya Sabha seat from Haryana, garnering 40 votes.
Congress leaders, meanwhile, dismissed theories that Hooda and his loyalists did not want to vote for Anand in the first place since he was a candidate backed by rival INLD.
“These were the rumours spread by BJP. They were expecting that there will be a revolt in the Congress party. I myself was an election agent for my party. All my MLAs have voted, whatever ballots I have seen, almost 13 ballots I have seen myself, they have voted for Anand,” Hariprasad said.
“It is not a question of rebellious MLAs having their way, this question does not arise. If they would not have voted or if they (Cong) had boycotted, then I could understand. But that was the intention of BJP to engineer some revolt in the Congress and do something in Haryana. But they miserably failed, then they misused the government machinery to reject all their votes, that is the order of the day…,” he said.
“BJP conspired the whole thing and some of these votes were declared as invalid,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Gian Chand Gupta claimed senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala’s vote was cancelled after BJP complained that he had shown his vote to Congress legislative party chief in Haryana Kiran Choudhary.
Only two leaders from the Congress were authorised to see party votes — Surjewala himself and Congress’ central observer Hariprasad.

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