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Congress plea against separate Rajya Sabha bypolls

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Gujarat leader moves SC against EC

Gujarat Congress leader Pareshbhai Dhanani has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Election Commission’s decision to hold separate bypolls to two Rajya Sabha seats which fell vacant following the election of BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani to the Lok Sabha.

Simple majority

Mr. Dhanani, Opposition leader in the Gujarat Assembly, contended that the conduct of election for each vacancy separately would lead to the victory of the party which commanded simple majority in the legislature.

“This would turn the very objective of proportional representation i.e. to give each minority group an effective share as per its strength, on its head,” the plea said.

Of the 183 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, the BJP has 100 seats and the Congress 71.

The petition filed through advocate Varun K Chopra submitted that though the Congress was a minority in the Assembly, it has the requisite numbers to proportionately elect a member to the Rajya Sabha.

“The BJP, running the government at the Centre, in order to have its party rule in the Rajya Sabha despite not having complete proportion to elect both seats to the Council of States, is trying to use the respondent’s [EC] office to somehow impede the mandate under the Representation of the People Act,” the petition stated.

Political agenda

The plea alleged that “such manoeuvring by the BJP and the respondent to suit their political agenda sounds a death knell to democracy.”

Mr. Chopra quoted past precedents in which the bypolls to three Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra were conducted simultaneously in 2009.

Mr. Dhanani’s petition has sought a direction to the poll panel to hold simultaneous byelections for filling all vacancies in the Rajya Sabha.

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Printable version | Nov 21, 2019 9:07:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-plea-against-separate-rajya-sabha-bypolls/article28022037.ece

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