New Delhi: Opposition nominee P A Sangma today sought the Election Commission’s intervention for a fresh probe into his objections against the candidature of UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee, levelling new allegations that he was still holding two more offices of profit.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the Returning Officer’s dismissal of their complaint, a three-member delegation on behalf of Sangma met the Election Commission, which gave them time to present their written submission on their demand by Monday evening.
After the meeting, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy claimed that Mukherjee continued to hold two more offices of profit – as Vice President of Birbhum Institute of Engineering and Technology and Chairman of Rabindra Bharti Society, which forms the Rabindra Bharti University.
He said the delegation met the Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath and placed their concerns. The Constitution allows the EC to intervene in the conduct of elections.
“Here the issue is of fraud. Let the EC decide on whether there is a fraud in the nomination process. Let the EC take the final decision,” Swamy said.
The delegation, which also included BJP leader and Sangma’s counsel Satya Pal Jain and his election agent Bhartruhari Mahtab, raked up the issue of Mukherjee’s signature on his letter of resignation from the Indian Statistical Institute and its acceptance.
Opposing the Returning Officer’s decision, Jain said they have made three submissions before the EC and sought its intervention.
“As per rules, the EC has powers to intervene as the election process is on. We would be filing our written statement petitioning the Election Commission on Monday.”
He said, under Article 324 the EC has overall jurisdiction over the conduct and supervision of all elections and said the situation calls for its intervention.
Citing examples of the recent Jharkhand Rajya Sabha poll and H N Bahuguna’s Lok Sabha election from Garhwal in 1980, he said the EC has intervened on these occasions during the election process.
“We told the CEC that as per rules the Returning Officer is duty bound to look at all the objections raised by them. The RO has not looked at all objections raised by us,” Jain said.
Mahtab said, “This way the Returning Officer has helped the person against whom forgery allegations have been made. Resignation of Pranab Mukherjee from the ISI was not appropriately accepted as M G K Menon is not the appropriate authority to accept the reservation of the Chairman.”
Among the objections raised by the delegation before the EC are that if the Returning Officer has powers to examine the signatures of proposers and seconders, then it is also his duty to examine the genuineness of his signatures.
Sangma’s camp has raised the issue of Mukherjee’s resignation letter where his signature was disputed. It was also disputed that the letter was backdated.
Jain said instead of deciding on these objections, the returning officer says, these are issues on which the decision can be given at from other appropriate forum. The RO has not identified this forum.
The petitioners maintained under section 5(E) of the President’s and Vice President’s Election Act even if there is a dispute about the signatures of the proposer or the seconder or there is a fraud in this regard, the RO has to decide on the matter.