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Congress seeks simultaneous polls to Rajya Sabha seats vacated by Amit Shah, Smriti Irani

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Congress says BJP may get both seats if elections are held separately.

The Congress cautioned the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday against holding elections to the Rajya Sabha seats vacated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Textiles Minister Smriti Irani on separate dates.

The party will make a formal representation to the poll panel to hold simultaneous elections to the two vacancies from Gujarat.

The Congress claims that based on the strength of its members in the Gujarat Assembly and adding the first and second preference votes, it will bag one of the two Rajya Sabha seats if elections are held together. However, if elections are held on separate dates, the BJP will manage to get both the seats.

“It has been a convention as well as the Constitutional provision that elections should be held together,” said Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Manu Singhvi. He claimed that Section 69 of the Representation of the People Act made it incumbent on the poll panel to hold the elections together. “Everyone who won the election got their winning certificate on May 24, even though the results may have been declared a little earlier or later. Even Mr. Amit Shah got his winning certificate on May 24 even if his result was known a day earlier and even if Smriti Irani’s result did not come until the next day,” said Mr. Singhvi.

He said such technicality — difference in declaration of results of Mr. Shah and Ms. Irani — should not be used to hold Rajya Sabha elections on separate dates. “I am not saying that it is going to be done, but there are apprehensions. And the only way the EC can remove my apprehensions is to issue a two-line statement that it won’t be done,” said Mr Singhvi.

Backs Sonia’s statement

Mr. Singhvi endorsed a statement purportedly made by the former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi that “doubts are being raised in the electoral process and there can’t be smoke without fire.”

“It’s not a blanket statement that the UPA Chairperson [Sonia Gandhi] has made. We have been raising issues from time to time. From this very podium, we have commended when they [EC] restrained leaders for a day. But the same EC didn’t perform its duty when it came to the Prime Minister or Amit Shah,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 7:10:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-seeks-simultaneous-polls-to-rajya-sabha-seats-vacated-by-amit-shah-smriti-irani/article27902233.ece

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