BJP leader moves HC against election of Pawar’s nephewUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 00:43 IST
Former minister and BJP leader from Aurangabad, Ramdas Shinde, has filed a petition in the Bombay high court (HC), challenging the election of Rohit Rajendra Pawar to the Karjat-Jamkhed seat in the 2019 Assembly elections. Shinde, who had been previously elected for two consecutive terms from the same seat, lost to Pawar last year. The BJP leader alleged in his petition that Rohit, the grand-nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, bribed voters and also resorted to character assassination. Shinde also claimed that this prejudiced the voters and hence was against the election rules. He urged the court to declare Rohit’s election null and void and declare him (Shinde) as elected. The court, after hearing the plea, issued notice to Rohit.
The petition, filed by Shinde through senior advocate SB Talekar, came up for hearing before the bench of justice S M Gavhane on Tuesday. In the plea, Shinde alleged that Pawar, who is unknown in the constituency, managed to win by resorting to unfair means. The petition also states the manner in which voters were bribed and how a slur campaign on WhatsApp was initiated against Shinde few days before the election.
Shinde alleged that Rohit, being a full-time director of Baramati Agro Limited, had taken help of 176 employees at the firm to bribe voters. The former minister also claimed that the employees approached individual families and disbursed Rs 1,000 per valid voter, the total disbursed amount aggregating to Rs 25 crore.
Shinde further submitted a list of names of the employees, the number of families and amounts disbursed to them in his plea.
The petition added that the slur campaigns on WhatsApp had spread false information about how Shinde and his secretaries were womanizers and were also accused of taking commissions from contractors. This, Shinde said, had a huge impact on voters but due to shortage of campaigning time he was unable to lodge complaints against the administrators of the WhatsApp groups. The petition had a list of WhatsApp groups where the slur campaigns were perpetrated.
Shinde claimed that due to Rohit’s acts, his expectations of having a landslide victory in the absence of any Shiv Sena candidate were crushed and he lost. Shinde submitted that Rohit’s election was in breach of sections 77, 123 of the Representation of People Act and the Conduct of Election Rules, including the directions issued by the Election Commission. Shinde urged that Rohit’s election should be set aside and he should be declared the winner.
After hearing the submissions, the court summoned Pawar and posted the matter for hearing on March 13.