Gujarat Minister Chudasama’s Election Void: HC
GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday declared state BJP minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama’s election in 2017 as void on grounds of malpractice and manipulation.
Justice Paresh Upadhyay cancelled Chudasama’s election in an order passed in a petition filed by Ashwin Rathod, the Congress’s candidate from the constituency. Rathod, who was the runner up in the election, had challenged the BJP leader’s victory by a slender margin of 327 votes.
After 73 hearings, the court agreed with the petitioner’s arguments that 429 postal ballot votes were illegally cancelled and also found several breaches of election rules.
In his election petition, Ashwin Rathod alleged that Bhupendrasinh Chudasama indulged in “corrupt practice and breach of many of the mandatory instructions of the Election Commission, at various stages of the election process, more particularly at the time of counting of votes”.
The BJP Minister is currently in charge of several portfolios including education, law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs in the Vijay Rupani government. He has the option to approach the Supreme Court and challenge the high court’s order.
According to Ahmedabad Mirror, the court found “glaring breaches” of election rules. From CCTV footage, Jani was seen talking over the phone inside the counting centre, while Chudasama’s assistant personal secretary Dharmin Mehta was also seen inside the counting centre, illegally. The footage also showed Jani telling the staff at the counting centre that he is going to “declare ‘off the record result’”.
(With Agency Inputs).