NEW DELHI: The Congress decided on Sunday to ask the Election Commission to countermand the Rajya Sabha elections in Haryana after votes of 14 of its lawmakers in the state were declared invalid for using a “wrong pen”.
The Congress-backed candidate, lawyer RK Anand, failed to win the seat because of the fiasco that the party blamed on the ruling BJP.
“Never before has it happened that so many votes in an RS poll have been called invalid. This was a deliberate attempt of the BJP to win,” said BK Hariprasad, the Congress general secretary in charge of the Rajya Shaba polls in Haryana.
The party will seek a probe into what it alleges as a fraud by the state machinery.
In the biennial polls to the Upper House of Parliament, BJP’s Birender Sigh and party-backed independent candidate, media baron Subhas Chandra, won from Haryana.
“There was a deliberate fraud as pens used to mark votes were switched to make the Congress votes invalid. After all the votes were cast, the BJP raised an objection. The state legislative secretary who was the top poll official, rejected our 14 votes instantly,” Hariprasad said.
In the RS polls, pens of different colours are used during polling. On Saturday, 14 Congress MLAs’ votes were rejected as they used a wrong pen to mark their choice.
A section in the Congress suspected sabotage. All the 14 lawmakers are known loyalists of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and he was apparently not happy with Anand’s nomination.
Hariprasad dismissed any such speculation and backed Hooda.
The former chief minister will go to the poll commission to seek a probe. “It’s my firm belief that a conspiracy was hatched to ensure victory of the BJP-backed candidate. This truth will come out in 24 hours,” Hooda said.
But a top Congress leader admitted that there was“confusion” with a section in the party over its decision to support an INLD-backed candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls.