Gujarat Education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama files plea to be witness in poll win case.The request by the minister was made in connection with an election petition filed by Congress leader Ashwin Rathod against his Assembly poll victory from Dholka constituency.
Education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama on Tuesday filed a formal application before the Gujarat High Court seeking permission to allow him to depose before the court as a witness before any other witnesses on his behalf are examined by the court.
During the previous hearing, the counsel for Chudasama had orally submitted that the minister wants to modify the list of witnesses submitted by him in January. The court had then directed the minister to move a formal application for consideration of the court.
Meanwhile, during the hearing on Tuesday, senior counsel Percy Kavina appearing for Rathod vehemently opposed the application saying that the court should not allow Chudasama to modify the list of witnesses, which was submitted by him in January.
However, the senior counsel submitted that he on behalf of Rathod isn’t willing to file any reply to the application and the court may note his objections, raised earlier as well.Following the arguments, the single-judge bench ordered all the litigating parties to file any objection to Chudasama’s application in writing till Friday. The next hearing of the case is scheduled on August 30.
The minister had won the Assembly election by a wafer-thin margin of 327 votes and that too after the returning officer Dhaval Jani mysteriously rejected 429 votes through postal ballots, a number greater than the winning margin.It is the contention of Rathod that the rejection of 429 votes received through postal ballots by the returning officer was illegal and resulted in Chudasama winning the election.
Rathod has also contended that the then deputy collector of Dholka, Gaurang Prajapati, who was supposed to be the returning officer as per his designation was removed after the election code of conduct was implemented.Prajapati was replaced by Jain at Dholka with an aim to increase Chudasama’s prospects of winning the election. Another argument of Rathod is that although the standing instruction of the Election Commission of India is that the postal ballots are to be counted before counting of votes on EVMs, the same was not followed.
Jani had deposed as a witness in the ongoing trial based on Rathod’s petition. Chudasama had won from Dholka by a mere margin of 327 votes. Rathod, in his petition, alleged that Jani wrongfully invalidated 429 votes cast through postal ballots leading to his defeat. The court Justice Paresh Upadhyay also noted that “the number of rejected postal ballots (429 votes) were more than the winning margin (of 327 votes) of the returned candidate (Chudasama).”