Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's election managers will petition the Election Commission, seeking the disqualification of UPA nominee Pratibha Patil on the grounds that "undue influence" is being exerted on members of the Electoral College in her favour.
Congress spokesman Abhishekh Manu Singhvi has unwittingly scored a "self goal" by spreading the "blatant lie" that a petition seeking the disqualification of Shekhawat's prime proposer Natwar Singh was pending in the office of the Vice-President since May last and is now "entrapped in his own falsehood", Shekhawat's election manager Sushma Swaraj said. She said the fact was that the first and only petition of this sort was submitted to the Rajya Sabha secretariat a full 24 hours after Shekhawat had filed his nomination papers as the presidential candidate on June 25.
According to Swaraj, the timing of the Congress petition against Natwar Singh is significant.
In the current scenario and at this juncture, the move is ostensibly aimed at forcing Natwar Singh into submission and sending out warning signals to other members of the Electoral College, while embarrassing Shekhawat also, she said.
Seeking to invoke Clause 18 of the President and Vice-President Election Act, 1952, the petition on Shekhawat's behalf is likely to be submitted with the Election Commission on Friday.
Clause 18 states, "If a candidate is found to indulge in bribery or in the exercise of undue influence, his/her candidature will be declared null and void."