Bhopal : The election of 38 legislators, including former ministers and chairpersons of state-run corporations, in the November 2008 assembly polls has been challenged in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, data compiled from court records show.
Manipulation in the counting of votes polled, both through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and postal ballots, is the major charge against the legislators, apart from their being accused to corrupt practices, booth capturing and terrorising voters.
While 23 petitions have been filed in the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, eight have been filed in the Gwalior bench and seven in the Indore bench.
Among those whose election has been challenged is Neena Verma of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who beat her Congress rival Bal Mukund Gautam in the Dhar constituency by just one vote. Gautam has alleged irregularities in the counting of postal ballots to ensure her victory.
Congress legislator Brijendra Singh’s election from Prithvipur (Tikamgarh) has also been challenged. BJP candidate Sunil Nayak, a former minister, was killed Nov 27, 2008 soon after polling ended in the constituency. Dinesh Nayak, a close relative of the vicitm, has accused Singh and his supporters of booth capturing and terrorising voters by firing in the air.
Congress leader Munnalal Goyal has challenged the election of Public Health Engineering Minister Anoop Mishra (BJP) from Gwalior (East), alleging manipulation in the counting of postal ballots.
Other petitions include that of Madan Lal (BJP), who has challenged the election of Vijay Laxmi Sadho (Congress) from Maheshwar (Khargone district), and of Rajesh Patel (Congress), who has challenged election of the BJP’s Surendra Patwa from Bhojpur (Raisen district).
This apart, petitions have been filed challenging election of BJP legislators Vishwas Sarang from Narela (Bhopal) and Dhruv Narayan Singh from Bhopal (Central) under the Office of Profit Act.
Sarang and Singh are chairmen of state-run corporations.
Losing contestants from political parties that have little or no base have also knocked on the doors of the court.
Former legislator Rajendra Bharti, whose Bahujan Samaj Party failed to make an impact despite speaking about social engineering on the lines of that in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, has urged the court to set aside the election of the former minister Narottam Mishra (BJP) from Datia, saying he adopted corrupt practices to influence the outcome.
Mukesh Nayak of Uma Bharati’s Bharatiya Jan Shakti (BJS) party has challenged the election of Brijendra Pratap Singh (BJP) from Pawai (Panna) even though the party fared poorly.
Similarly, Doman Singh Nagpure of the Gondwana Ganatantra Party (GGP) has challenged the election of Pradeep Jaiswal (Congress) from Waraseoni (Balaghat). Nagpure’s party has a nominal presence in the state.