Three rivals for the post of sarpanch at Bir Talab village have joined hands to assert their right to contest the election after their nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer, allegedly on frivolous grounds.
Darshan Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Sukhdev Singh, all Dalits, had filed their papers to contest the election of sarpanch on the general category seat.
Five others, Malkeet Singh, Jagtar Singh, Surjit Singh, Gurmeet Kaur and Reshma, also from Dalit families, had filed their papers to contest the election of panch.
However, the nomination papers of all eight aspirants were cancelled by returning officer Pardeep Kumar Bansal citing technical mistakes.
They have complained to deputy commissioner KK Yadav against the returning officer, alleging that their papers were cancelled under political pressure.
"We had filed the papers only after getting them attested from the notary. According to rules, in case of a technical problem, the returning officer must summon us to correct the mistake. But we did not receive any such call," said Darshan Singh.
Kuldeep Singh said, "The returning officer did not do his job properly as he worked under political pressure and cancelled our papers on frivolous grounds. He summoned select candidates to correct their mistakes, but we were not called."
"None of us is ineligible to contest the elections. We meet all terms and conditions. Our papers have been cancelled on frivolous grounds," said Sukhdev Singh.
Dalit Human Rights Organisation for Justice activist Ashok Mahindra said, "We met the deputy commissioner and requested him to take action so that these candidates can contest the elections. It is a violation of their fundamental right. I will take up the matter with the National SC/ST Commission."
"We are rivals, but are ready to fight jointly against the administration before contesting the elections against one another," said Darshan Singh.