New Delhi: After recommending re-polling in the Rajya Sabha biennial elections from Jharkhand over allegations of “horse-trading” last week, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi has said he would do so “again if any evidence was found”.
“We will countermand the polls again if we find evidence of money being used,” Quraishi told IANS on the sidelines of a lecture at the India International Centre here Wednesday evening.
The CEC had recommended to President Pratibha Patil that the March 30 polls be cancelled after the IT department officials recovered Rs.2.15 crore in cash from a vehicle registered in the name of Suresh Agrawal, brother of Independent candidate R.K. Agrawal.
Miffed over the poll panel’s move, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha candidate Sanjiv Kumar and Congress candidate Pradeep Balmuchu appealed to the president and sought counting of votes.
Balmuchu went to the Jharkhand High Court challenging the Election Commission’s order.
Balmuchu, who also happens to be president of the state Congress unit, has stated in the petition that the poll panel’s decision on March 30 to cancel the notification for election issued on March 12 was against the constitutional mandate and would affect the representation of Jharkhand.
The high court has reserved its order.
“We will decide on the new poll dates after the high court order,” said Quraishi.
The CEC said after receiving reports that money was being used in the Rajya Sabha polls in Jharkhand the poll panel had alerted the income tax department.
“We knew that money was changing hands but we needed actionable evidence… We acted the moment we had evidence,” said Quraishi.
Quraishi’s move has earned him a lot of respect in the country and even won him praise from Bharatiya Janata Party veteran L.K. Advani.
The CEC has often said that “barring criminals from contesting and checking use of black money in elections are top reform proposals of the poll panel”.