'Ignorance' 5 yrs ago haunts them now

'Ignorance' 5 yrs ago haunts them now

344 losing candidates who did not file expense details in last MCD polls cant contest now

As many as 344 candidates who lost in the last MCD polls won't be allowed to even try their luck this time.

The Election Commission had debarred 345 candidates from contesting elections for six years when they failed to file details of their poll expenses by the April 17, 2007 deadline after the last MCD elections.

After tasting defeat in the polls, none of them bothered to file the mandatory expense account with the EC, despite being aware of the law.

Now, five years later, most of them are knocking on the EC’s doors, asking it to reconsider its decision and allow them to contest. But only one person among those who had not filed their details has been allowed to contest this time.

According to State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta, the law requires that every candidate — winner of loser  — must file their election expenditure before the deadline. Anybody not doing so would be disqualified for six years from contesting polls.

“In 2007, the EC had disqualified 345 candidates who did not file their expenses. Now that they have woken up to contest again, they want us to reconsider the decision. But it is too late,” said Mehta. He said a list of disqualified candidates has been distributed to returning officers and their nominations will be rejected.

While it will be a disappointment for many who were planning to contest again, one person has been lucky.

According to sources, Rajinder Singh was disqualified for six years by the then Election Commissioner for not filing his poll expenses. He had contested from Moti Nagar (ward 99) in 2007.

However, Mehta has given him a breather. “Singh claimed that he had submitted the account of election expenses to the then returning officer. But he was not given any receipt. He also gave an affidavit stating that poll expenses were submitted by him a couple of months after the elections were held,” said Mehta.

“Although he delayed filing his expenses, certain circumstances and the affidavit indicated that he had no intention of disobeying rules,” added Mehta.

Singh’s disqualification period has been reduced to four years from six years.

Mehta said other cases of appeal before him are not convincing and it is unlikely that anyone else who had not filed their expenses will get a chance to contest this time.