New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed two separate petitions of senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot seeking directions to the Election Commission to provide the draft voters’ list in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in text format.
Polls in Madhya Pradesh will be held on November 28 and in Rajasthan on December 7.
A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said, “We have dismissed these petitions”.
The apex court had reserved its verdict on October 8 on the plea of leaders alleging duplication of voters in the list and sought a proper redressal of grievances to ensure free and fair elections.
The plea filed by Nath said directions should be issued to publish the voters’ lists in a “text format as per rules”, instead of the PDF format, and expeditious decisions taken on all complaintsbefore their final publication.
The senior Congress leader has also said a direction should be issued to the poll panel to randomly verify the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with votes cast on electronic voting machines (EVMs) at 10 per cent randomly-selected polling stations in every constituency.
On September 18, the poll panel had, in its affidavit, justified providing the draft electoral roll in PDF format in Madhya Pradesh without the pictures of the voters and said it was done to prevent manipulation of electors’ data.
The pleas of leaders further alleged that according to a survey, there were over 60 lakh fake voters in Madhya Pradesh and similarly, in Rajasthan, there were over 41 lakh duplicate voters.
In Rajasthan, the poll panel had added 71 lakh new voters, the plea said, demanding that directions be given to remove inconsistencies and conduct free and fair elections.
Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs
Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.
“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.
This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.
According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.
Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara
Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.
The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.
Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.
With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.
Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.
However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.
The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.
The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.