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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Congress workers want Noida election postponed

Soibam Rocky Singh and Vinod Rajput, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 08, 2014
First Published: 01:26 IST(8/4/2014) | Last Updated: 02:20 IST(8/4/2014)

Congress workers from Noida on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking postponement of elections in the Gautam Budh Nagar constituency. The Congress faces an unprecedented in the district as its candidate Ramesh Chand Tomar joined the BJP after the last date of filing of nominations and the party cannot field a new name.

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A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by two Congress workers from Noida has sought direction to the Centre and the Election Commission to defer the general election scheduled to be held on April 10 to a later phase. The ninth and last phase of Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh will be held on May 12.

A division bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi has agreed to hear the PIL in detail on April 9, a day before the election in Noida.

Tomar had filed his nomination as an official candidate of the Congress for the Gautam Budh Nagar seat on March 21. He was allotted the party symbol and later campaigned as an official candidate for more than eight days after the last date of withdrawal of nominations got over.

Tomar was a four-time MP from Ghaziabad on a BJP ticket. In 2009, he was fielded from Gautam Budh Nagar on a Congress ticket and he bagged about 1.6 lakh votes. On April 3, in an open public meeting attended by the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Tomar joined the BJP.

This not only led to a lot of resentment among Congress supporters but put the party in a fix as the process of filing nominations was already over on March 24 and the party cannot field a new candidate.

Some Congress workers made a representation to the Election Commission on April 4 to adjourn the polls but no decision has been taken yet.

In the petition, Vikram Kasan, vice-president of the Congress in the district, contended more than one lakh volunteers of the party would be “denied their constitutional and statutory right of casting their vote” if the polls were not deferred.

Mukesh Yadav, executive president of the Congress in the district -- also the co-petitioner in the PIL -- said the party should be given another opportunity to file fresh nominations from the constituency. “About 35,000 permanent Congress volunteers and thousands of voters who were disappointed are now hopeful that the elections will be postponed to the next date, which will help the Congress to field another candidate,” said Alok Singh, Congress spokesperson from Gautam Budh Nagar district.


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