Not only at the time of Voting but also after declaration of result and before sealing of record by Returning Officer – Advocate
CHANDIGARH – Recently, during Biennial Election for filling 2 seats of Rajya Sabha from the State of Haryana for which 3 candidates were in fray due to which Polling was conducted on June 10 and after counting, BJP’s official candidate Krishan Lal Pawar and an Independent, who was although openly supported by ruling BJP-JJP and its supporting MLAs, Kartikeya Sharma (who however contested in name of Kartik Sharma) both were declared elected. The third nominee i.e. Ajay Maken fielded by Congress party lost by a too narrow margin post the second round of counting.
Further, it came to light that although a total 30 Votes were polled in favour of Cong candidate Maken however one Vote got declared invalid at the time of counting since it was not properly marked/recorded.
The Cong party has a total of 31 MLAs in Haryana Assembly but since Kuldeep Bishnoi didn’t vote for the party candidate, Maken got only 30 Votes of which one Vote though was declared invalid. Hence, if either of the above had not happened i.e. if Bishnoi had voted for Maken or else the party MLA had cast his Vote properly, then surely the Cong party had won the Rajya Sabha seat from Haryana.
Meanwhile, the Congress party is yet to publicly disclose the name of such sole party MLA who recorded his/her Vote in a wrong manner. The Authorized Agent of Congress as duly appointed during Voting in that Election, Vivek Bansal, to whom every Cong party MLA including Bishnoi showed the marked/recorded Vote on the specific Ballot Paper before the same was inserted into the Ballot Box, since it is legal necessity under law as such Election is through Open Ballot, is however asserting that he is not able to recall identity of such MLA who actually did the same i.e. who marked Vote wrongly. Now if what he is asserting is correct or else he is alleging so due to some other reasons, it remains to be examined.
Meanwhile, Hemant Kumar, an Advocate at Punjab & Haryana High Court, has recently written to Congress party high command urging it to publicly disclose name of such party MLA from Haryana who has voted in a wrong manner so that not only all other party MLAs but rather public in general especially people of Haryana get aware of his/her name.
Hemant asserts that even if one believes for a while that Bansal, Cong party Authorized Agent is not able to recall the identity of such MLA during Voting Process who although had very much showed the wrongly Marked Vote to him before inserting the same into the Ballot Box but the point is that not only during Voting but even after declaration of Result and before the record is finally sealed, it is clearly provided in the Proviso to Rule 84 (2)(c) of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 that the Returning Officer (R.O.) shall before sealing the packets ( i.e. containing both valid and rejected ballot papers) allow the Authorized Agent of every political party to verify as to whom the electors being members of that political party have cast their votes.
Hence, even if Cong Authorised Agent Bansal does not recalls the identity of party MLA who marked Ballot Paper wrongly during Voting, as he has been asserting hitherto, the significant question which arises is that if he actually verified Votes cast by all Cong Party MLAs after declaration of result and before sealing of record by R.O. since Bansal was legally empowered to do so under Rule 84(2)(c) of ibid 1961 Rules. If he has not, then such ignorance of law (read above rule) by him or else other polling/counting agents of Cong party is very unfortunate and if he has done so and even after that he does not recalls who is that MLA, then it is much more unfortunate since it raises a serious question mark over his competency of being appointed as Authorised Agent in Rajya Sabha Election.