The BJP MP who defeated Meira won't be able to vote in Prez poll

The BJP MP who defeated Meira won't be able to vote in Prez poll
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Bihar’s Sasaram Lok Sabha constituency, Chedi Paswan, who defeated Meira Kumar in 2014 elections, will not be able to cast his vote during the Presidential election slated for next month.

A notification in this regard has been issued by the Election Commission and forwarded to the Bihar Chief Electoral Officer. The three-term MP, who was earlier in the JD (U) and had been a minister in Nitish’s Cabinet before switching over to the BJP, has defeated Meira Kumar thrice from Sasaram – in 1989, 1991 and 2014. It is believed that the reason for being debarred from participating in the Presidential poll is the legal case in which the Patna High Court, in July 2016, set aside his election as MP for concealing information in his election affidavit.

The single judge bench of the High Court headed by Justice KK Mandal passed the order while hearing a plea filed by an advocate Ganga Mishra, who alleged that Paswan had concealed information regarding criminal cases registered against him in the affidavit submitted to the Election Commission.

“The High Court upheld the plea that three cases filed against Paswan at Mohania police station - 168/2006, 28/2005 and 206/2005 - were not mentioned in the election affidavit. The judge, therefore, set aside his election as Lok Sabha member,” a source informed Deccan Herald.

However, Paswan pleaded ‘not guilty’ and reiterated that he had done no wrong or concealed any information as the concerned cases (not mentioned in the affidavit) were related to agitation for Durgawati Reservoir Project, and were thus not criminal cases.

Paswan eventually moved the Supreme Court which, on August 29, 2016, granted him interim relief and stayed the HC order which set aside his election as MP. The SC, however, said that it “would examine whether or not the disclosure format was in line with the basic sentiments and provisions of the Representation of the People’s Act.”

Passing the order, the SC bench of Justice Ranjan Gagoi and Justice PC Pant said the court needed to study whether it was necessary to declare every offence or only the serious ones. The apex court, in its earlier order, had made it mandatory to declare all the offences lodged against the candidate before filing nomination papers.

“As the matter is sub-judice, Paswan, who defeated Meira Kumar in 2014 by over 63,000 votes, won’t be able to cast his vote during the Presidential poll in which she is the Opposition nominee for the top post,” the source added.

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