The Congress Monday approached the Election Commission seeking countermanding elections to two Rajya Sabha seats in Haryana and holding fresh polls, arguing that there was a “deep rooted conspiracy” hatched by the state’s BJP government to “hijack and rig” the polls to ensure that the votes of Congress MLAs were rejected on the ground that they had cast their votes with a different pen. Amid talk of an internal sabotage, the party also appeared to be defending former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Separately, it demanded an FIR against the BJP leadership and BJP-backed candidate Subhash Chandra and a CBI probe into the invalidation of the votes. Independent candidate R K Anand was part of the Congress delegation the met the Election Commission. “It is a criminal act. Election Commission should ensure that an FIR is registered,” Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said later.
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In an apparent defence of Hooda, Sharma added: “It was a criminal conspiracy to undermine the electoral process by the BJP….Each vote was seen by the authorised representative…general secretary B K Hariprasad…All the MLAs had marked the votes in favour of the candidate we were supporting…Voters don’t take their colours or pens….You go inside the polling booth and the pen is there tied to a small string…Those whose votes were invalidated belong not to one faction of the Congress but to all..I am not taking names, but some of the strong loyalists of Hooda…their votes were found valid.”
Asked whether he was saying that Hooda had not betrayed the party, he said: “When did I say that.” “I talk based on facts..I react only to facts,” he added.
About speculation over Hooda leaving his ballot blank, he said, “I am not the Election Commission. You are not supposed to know which ballot number belongs to whom..Neither you know nor I know. I do not even know….how can you condemn on the basis of unsubstantiated political speculation and charges. It would be unfair.”
Anand blames BJP
R K Anand, who was earlier blaming Bhupinder Singh Hooda for conspiring for his defeat, Monday blamed BJP for the loss. “I never said that Congress leaders were involved. I said that initially, Congress never wanted to vote for me… If something wrong was happening, the Congress leaders should have come to me.”