The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday quashed a petition challenging the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. “No material has been placed on record to make the petition triable,” the judge said. The court was of the view that the petition was “half-hearted” and termed as “vague and bald statements, based on media reports” the allegations by Rai about the expenditure on Modi’s campaign being far in excess of permissible limits.
Petitioner Ajay Rai, who is a sitting Congress MLA from Pindra assembly segment of Uttar Pradesh, was the party’s candidate from Varanasi in 2014 general elections. He had challenged Modi’s election on a number of grounds such as alleged discrepancies in his nomination papers, expenditure on election campaign trail and use of religious sentiments to garner votes.
Modi’s team of counsels have strongly denounced the contentions made by Rai. Satya Pal Jain, a BJP leader and Additional Solicitor General of India, argued that the petition was “not maintainable” and prayed for dismissing the same “in limine”. The team of lawyers arguing on behalf of Rai was led by senior high court advocate Umesh Narain Sharma, who is a former head of the legal cell of the Congress party’s state unit.