Himachal Pradesh: BJP’s Rajya Sabha candidate moves EC against Congress issuing whip

Himachal Pradesh BJP leader Harsh Mahajan. (Express file photo by Amit Mehra)

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Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur said the EC had made it clear that whip can’t be issued for the Rajya Sabha polls and added the Congress has by issuing the whip shown its intention to pressurise the party legislators.

Controversy Surrounds Rajya Sabha Seat Poll in Himachal Pradesh

Before the Rajya Sabha seat poll in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP candidate raised concerns to the Chief Election Commissioner, alleging that the Congress had instructed its MLAs with a three-line whip for the February 27 election, which they deemed unethical.

In his complaint, Harsh Mahajan emphasized that such a directive not only violates ethical standards but also undermines the independence of the MLAs in decision-making for the Rajya Sabha elections.

In anticipation of potential victory claims by Mahajan, who previously served as a Congress MLA and minister but joined the BJP in September 2022 before the Assembly polls, the ruling party issued a directive to its MLAs on Sunday, urging them to vote for the party’s candidate, Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Candidates must display their ballots to the authorized agent following the instructions of their party. Failure to do so may result in the invalidation of their vote.

Opposition Leader Jai Ram Thakur mentioned that the Election Commission of India clarified that whips cannot be issued for Rajya Sabha polls. He further stated that by issuing the whip, the Congress intends to exert pressure on its party legislators.

He stated that the MLAs were democratically elected and have the freedom to vote as they choose.

Thakur also mentioned that only the party’s authorized agent can observe the vote and lacks the authority to invalidate it.

The ex-chief minister accused the police of tapping MLAs’ phones and monitoring their whereabouts. Mahajan, who claims to know all MLAs well and stays in contact with them, filed nominations with hopes of winning. He believes Congress members will vote based on conscience. He asserts close ties with MLAs from various parties, emphasizing his focus on winning regardless of numbers. Despite this, Congress leaders reject Mahajan’s claim, affirming party unity and confidence in their candidate’s victory.

Voting for a Rajya Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Congress, with 40 out of 68 MLAs and the backing of three independent MLAs, holds a significant majority. Despite having only 25 MLAs, the BJP is challenging the election by nominating Mahajan against Singhvi.

The complaint alleges that the Congress party disregards the democratic principles of the country by issuing an illegal whip to influence the Rajya Sabha election process. Such actions reveal the party’s disregard for voting rights granted by the Constitution.

The Election Commission has been urged to issue a show cause notice to the Congress party in Himachal Pradesh for breaching election conduct by issuing a three-line whip on February 22.

Harsh Mahajan emphasized the seriousness of this violation and urged the Election Commission to promptly take appropriate action.

 

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