AAP’S Tal­wandi Sabo MLA in­dicted over dual vote

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - Front page - Sachin Sharma sachin.ku­mar2@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■

CHANDI­GARH: The row over the al­leged dual vote of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’S Tal­wandi Sabo MLA Baljin­der Kaur has resur­faced with the sub-di­vi­sional mag­is­trate (Sdm)-cum-elec­toral reg­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer in­dict­ing her for this.

BATHINDA : : : The row over the al­leged dual vote of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’S Tal­wandi Sabo MLA Baljin­der Kaur has resur­faced with the elec­toral reg­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer in­dict­ing her for this.

The con­tro­versy had erupted in Au­gust 2014 when Baljin­der con­tested the as­sem­bly by­poll.

Tal­wandi Sabo sub-di­vi­sional mag­is­trate (Sdm)-cum-elec­toral reg­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer Barinder Singh in his let­ter to the Bathinda deputy com­mis­sioner-cum-dis­trict elec­tion of­fi­cer Diprava Lakra has said the MLA had dual votes with dif­fer­ent fa­ther names and house ad­dresses.

Se­nior ad­vo­cate APS Deol said if the MLA did not have dual vote at the time of the 2017 as­sem­bly polls, there is no ground for her dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The SDM’S let­ter rec­om­mend­ing fur­ther ac­tion says she de­lib­er­ately made false state­ment be­fore the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties in this re­gard.

Baljin­der was en­rolled as a voter in the Tal­wandi Sabo as­sem­bly seg­ment in Novem­ber 2005 at ad­dress hav­ing house num­ber 273 and her fa­ther’s name as Amar­jit Singh as she was his adopted daugh­ter as per the adop­tion deed. But nei­ther photo was af­fixed on the form nor any iden­tity proof was re­quired to en­rol her as a voter, it is men­tioned in the let­ter. Amar­jit died in 2002. Baljin­der then got reg­is­tered as a voter in June 2011 by fill­ing form num­ber 6 at ad­dress with house num­ber 272-A while men­tion­ing her bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther Dar­shan Singh. Both votes are reg­is­tered at her na­tive vil­lage Jaga Ram Ti­rath.

In Au­gust 2014 when Baljin­der con­tested the as­sem­bly by­poll, the then Tal­wandi Sabo re­turn­ing of­fi­cer (RO) had rec­om­mended a probe into the mat­ter.

Her vote was put in the ab­sent voter’s list the same month, says the let­ter, fol­low­ing which her vote (men­tion­ing fa­ther’s name as Amar­jit) was re­moved from the list in 2015, sources said.

Though the let­ter does not men­tion if she had dual vote at time of the 2017 as­sem­bly polls or not, sources said she had only one vote then.

An­other com­plaint was made to the Pun­jab chief elec­toral of­fi­cer (CEO) in Au­gust 2017 by for­mer AAP leader and Right to In­for­ma­tion (RTI) ac­tivist Harmi­lap Gre­wal who al­leged that a thor­ough probe was not con­ducted in the mat­ter as rec­om­mended by the then RO. An in­quiry was car­ried out into the mat­ter again.

He said Baljin­der im­per­son­ated as Dar­shan Singh’s daugh­ter be­cause an adopted per­son can go back to their bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents af­ter a proper le­gal process only which she did not fol­low.

“Baljin­der moved the court in 2007 seek­ing her right in Amar­jit’s prop­erty. She used the adop­tion deed and a voter ID card that men­tioned Amar­jit as her fa­ther. The mat­ter was dis­posed of in a Lok Adalat in 2011. Af­ter this, she got reg­is­tered as a voter by men­tion­ing her bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther’s name in the form,” he said.

He said he will ap­proach Pun­jab Vid­han Sabha speaker Rana KP Singh seek­ing Baljin­der’s dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion as MLA.

Baljin­der said she was not aware of any in­quiry re­port. “I never had a dual vote. The elec­tion com­mis­sion would not have al­lowed me to con­test the 2014 and 2017 polls if I had two votes. If the SDM has sub­mit­ted any such re­port I will de­mand an­other in­quiry into the mat­ter,” she said.

Lakra said he has not yet re­ceived the copy of the re­port yet and he will for­ward it to the state chief elec­toral of­fi­cer once he gets the same.

Pun­jab chief elec­toral of­fi­cer S Karuna Raju said he will be in a po­si­tion to com­ment only af­ter go­ing through the de­tails of the case and the SDM’S re­port.

Congress leader Khush­baz Singh Jatana, who un­suc­cess­fully con­tested the 2017 as­sem­bly poll against Baljin­der, said her Vid­han Sabha mem­ber­ship should be can­celled paving way for by­polls in Tal­wandi Sabo. She should be booked for pro­vid­ing false in­for­ma­tion to the elec­tion com­mis­sion, he said.


Baljin­der Kaur ■

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