AT LEAST 136 petitions pertaining to the recent Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections have been received by the small causes court. A major chunk of these were filed by losing candidates of the Shiv Sena. The BMC election results were declared on February 23, with the Shiv Sena winning 84 seats and the BJP finishing a close second at 82.
One court room at the small causes court in Dhobi Talao had been designated to receive election petitions within 10 days of the declaration of the results.
An official said that till the last date on March 3, at least 136 petitions were filed. In most cases, notices have been issued to the parties including the state election commission, the BMC and specific candidates.
The petitions seek disqualification of the candidates, declaration of elections of specific wards as null and void and allege faults in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
“In some cases, petitioners have claimed that false caste certificates were filed by particular candidates to be able to contest from reserved wards. Losing candidates have also alleged in some cases that the result should be declared void as the winning candidate had lied in the affidavit declaring his or her assets,” said a lawyer at the small causes court. Among the 136 is a petition filed by Congress leader Dharmesh Vyas against Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar.
Vyas has claimed that Mahadeshwar, as a principal of a government-aided school, suppressed information that he was drawing salary from government grants, making him ineligible to become a corporator. A few of the petitions are also seeking re-election, claiming that names of many voters were missing from electoral lists.
On Monday, senior Sena leader Surendra Bagalkar’s petition seeking quashing of the election in ward 220 came up for hearing.
In the ward, the results ended in a tie between Bagalkar and BJP’s Atul Shah. A lottery was then drawn by a five-year old in the presence of BMC Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, to choose Shah as the winner.
Bagalkar approached the court seeking that EVMs from four polling booths of the ward be opened to find out in whose favour bogus votes were cast and deduct them from the final count. He is seeking that five tendered votes kept aside by the polling authorities be opened.
A tender vote is recorded when a person approaches the election authorities at the booth proving conclusively that someone else has voted in his name as a bogus voter.
On Monday, a crowd of Sena workers was present in court with Bagalkar. The case was adjourned till the next month as the judge was absent.
Among other cases mentioned on Monday was one filed by BJP member Ritu Tawade. She has alleged in her petition that winning candidate Tukaram Patil had not signed his declaration affidavit along with other irregularities. An official said that over 20 cases from the previous BMC election held in 2012 were also pending.