RJD considers legal challenge to Bihar poll results, EC says election was transparent
Tejashwi Yadav had alleged that the irregularities in the counting process had led to the Grand Alliance losing 20 seats that stopped it from reaching the majority figure of 122.Updated: Nov 13, 2020, 21:12 IST
Top leaders of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Tejashwi Prasad Yadav on Friday held a meeting with around 30 candidates of the party who lost by narrow margins and assured them the party would mount a legal challenge against poll results in various assembly constituencies.
The meeting lasted over four hours during which the RJD nominees shared their experience at the counting centres with some alleging they lost because of manipulation by election officials.
Shakti Singh Yadav, RJD’s former MLA from Hilsa in Nalanda, said he would file a writ petition in the Patna High Court challenging the poll results of his defeat to JD(U)’s Prem Mukhiya, who won by a margin of 12 votes.
“I will take legal recourse and file a writ petition. I was leading and then the trends reversed after postal ballots were counted. It is all very suspicious and looks like there was a conspiracy to defeat me,” he said.
He further claimed that a large number of postal ballots including votes cast by teachers in his constituency engaged in polls were rejected on the plea that many of these ballots did not have covering letters of verification of voters. “It was not my work to ensure that the postal ballot carried necessary papers verifying the identity as a voter. This is again a grey area,” he said.
But Bihar’s Chief Electoral Officer, H R Srinivasa insisted that all norms were followed at the counting centres. In context of Hilsa constituency, Srinivasa said all the postal ballots including the rejected ones were recounted on the request of the RJD nominee.
“As per EC directives, if the margin of win is less than the postal ballots, then re-verification is done of invalid postal ballots. In Hilsa, the Returning Officer went a step ahead and carried out recounting of all postal ballots including invalid votes in the presence of the candidates. The results were the same,” he said.
Srinivasa said that he had already issued the list of 11 constituencies where the margin of win was less than 1,000 votes in postal ballots on Thursday. Of the 11 constituencies, JD(U) won four seats, RJD has won three seats, LJP one seat, BJP one seat , CPI one seat and one seat was won by an independent candidate.
“In these 11 constituencies, different parties have won including one independent. The election was conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner,” he said. The 11 seats include Hilsa, Barbigha, Ramgarh, Matihani, Bhorey, Dehri, Bachhwara, Chakai, Kurhani , Bakhri and Parbattta.
Besides, the CEO said the norms laid down for classifying postal ballots as valid and invalid were followed strictly during the counting process.
On the RJD’s demand of seeking CDs of video recordings of counting centres, Srinivasa said the CDs of videography done inside the counting centres would be provided to whoever asks for it. “We will provide the CDs as against the deposition of the required fee. Everything is there,” he said.
The Election Commission too has clarified that the counting process was slow because of the increase in polling stations due to Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Meanwhile, RJD’s state spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwary said the party was looking into legal options to challenge the polls results in several constituencies where the margin of victory was abysmally low.
“Consultations are going with various allies of the grand alliance and legal experts are also being approached for taking a view on the options of moving court,” he said.
On Thursday, Tejashwi had alleged that the irregularities in the counting process had led to the Grand Alliance losing 20 seats that stopped it from reaching the majority figure of 122. The Grand Alliance ended up with 110 seats against the NDA’s 125.