MPTC, ZPTC polls: a chance to aspirants ‘forced’ to withdraw

The State Election Commission (SEC) has asked the District Collectors and the district election authorities to submit reports by February 20 on specific instances of prevention of candidates, who aspired to contest the elections to the MPTCs and ZPTCs, from filing their nominations and forced withdrawal of nominations, in order to resume the election process that was stalled in March 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar stated in a press release that he received representations / complaints of prevention of candidates from filing nominations, withdrawal of nominations under duress and inducements during the earlier process of elections.

The commission had also received complaints / representations from major political parties on poll aberrations, he said.

The SEC obtained legal opinion, on the basis of which it was proceeding with the conduct of the MPTC and ZPTC elections. Accordingly, it formulated guidelines and sought information from the District Collectors on the actions that vitiated the election process.

‘Submit evidence’

Mr. Ramesh Kumar said the affected parties could now approach the District Collectors and the district election authorities with evidence of prevention from filing nominations, or instances of withdrawal of nominations under pressure.

They should submit evidence in the form of complaints lodged with the returning officers and the police and adduce credible information widely available in the public domain.

In view of the inability of some contestants to pursue their cases further under the existing avenues, the Commission empowered the District Collectors to issue speaking orders to revive their candidatures in the interest of free and fair elections and to include them in the election process so as to maintain the integrity of elections, and thereby ensure a level-playing field for all the bona fide contestants.

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