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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: War of words continue between Shiv Sena factions over EVM row

In Mumbai North-West, Waikar, who had switched over to the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena just before elections, had defeated Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Amol Kirtikar by a margin of 48 votes.
Last Updated : 17 June 2024, 12:42 IST

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Mumbai: The counting controversy involving the Mumbai North-West seat escalated further with the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) demanding that Ravindra Waikar should be stopped from taking oath as a Lok Sabha member till the issue is settled. 

In Mumbai North-West, Waikar, who had switched over to the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena just before elections, had defeated Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Amol Kirtikar by a margin of 48 votes. 

While Kirtikar is preparing to file an election petition in the Bombay High Court in a fortnight’s time challenging Waikar’s victory and why the complaints to Election Commision were not addressed, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Anil Parab is contemplating moving court against Returning Officer Vandana Suryavanshi, the Mumbai Suburban district’s Additional Collector. 

Thackeray’s son Aaditya, who is an MLA from Worli, launched a scathing attack against BJP and Shiv Sena. 

The counting of votes was done in the Nesco Complex at Goregaon suburbs. 

“Had there been no EVMs and elections were free and fair, the BJP would have won only 40 seats and not 240 seats,” said Aaditya. 

However, Shiv Sena deputy leader Sanjay Nirupam rejected the charge, saying: “If EVMs could be hacked, would so many Congress seats have been won?”.

It may be mentioned, while Suryavanshi has rejected media reports that a “mobile phone was used to generate an OTP to unlock an EVM”, the Vanrai police station has registered an FIR into alleged use of mobile phone inside the counting centre.

The FIR has named Mangesh Pandilkar, a relative and aide of Waikar and Dinesh Gurav, who was an ENCORE poll-portal operator. “It is unfortunate that the mobile used by one of our officers fell in unauthorised hands and we have already filed a police complaint,” Suryavanshi said. 

Meanwhile, the Vanrai police station, in a statement, has issued a denial that any police officer has given information about OTPs being used to unlock EVMs. 

"It would be a true display of democracy if he is stopped from being a Lok Sabha member until the investigation is concluded," Raut said on the issue of stopping Waikar from taking oath. 

Parab claimed that Form 17 C was not provided. “The election result declared is suspicious . We are taking legal recourse. Counting process was fine till the 19th round. There was no transparency after the 19th round…till the 19th round, our tally was 650 votes more than the opposite candidate,” said Parab, and pointed out that he fears that the phone seized may be changed. 

"Probe also needs to be done on the constant phone calls to the returning officer . She would move away from her seat several times to talk on the phone," he said. 

Responding to the charges, Shiv Sena deputy leader Sanjay Nirupam said that for spreading fake news on EVMs, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Thackeray, his son Aaditya must apologise. “All leaders who propagated the fake news should apologise,” he said in what was a reference to I.N.D.I.A bloc leaders.

“The fake news has discredited police and election officials,” said Nirupam. 

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Published 17 June 2024, 12:42 IST

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