The nomination papers filed by Bhai Baldeep Singh, an Independent candidate supported by Swaraj Abhiyan, for Khadoor Sahib byelection were rejected on Thursday for want of documents proving him to be a voter from Punjab.
Baldeep Singh had filed the nomination papers Wednesday, the last day to do so.
It is learnt while filing his nomination papers, Baldeep Singh had himself brought to the notice of the SDM-and-returning officer Ravinder Singh that he had not filled a column in the form that required him to fill his voter number.
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He informed the SDM that he was a voter from Delhi and had applied to get himself included in the electoral roll in Punjab’s Sultanpur Lodhi town. He also produced a receipt for the same.
The SDM, however, made him aware via a notice that it was mandatory for a candidate to provide a voter number. On this, Baldeep Singh requested the SDM to let him to provide the information by January 29. But the latter replied that he does not have the power to do so and told Baldeep Singh to furnish the documents by 11 am on Thursday.
Baldeep Singh, however, failed to do so leading to rejection of his nomination papers.
The Independent candidate cried foul and alleged political vendetta behind rejection of his papers.
Talking to The Indian Express, he said he had applied to be enrolled as a voter at Sultanpur Lodhi on January 22 and, according to rules, it would be done in a week.
Meanwhile, SDM Ravinder Singh claimed he only followed law and that he was not in a position to give more time to Baldeep Singh.
Bhai Baldeep Singh, an AAP rebel and a Gurbani Sangeet exponent, had announced his candidature for the bypoll in December last year.
He had also contested the Lok Sabha election from Khadoor Sahib LS constituency and was perceived to be a strong candidate. He could have have helped Akalis had the Congress not opted out.
Swaraj Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav had come down to Chandigarh to announce his support for him and had gone to Golden Temple a few days ago to kick-start his campaign.
Significantly, Bhai Baldeep had addressed a press conference in Chandigarh along with Yadav announcing his candidature on December 23 but he applied for inclusion of his name in the voters’ list a month later, on January 22 , just five days before the deadline for filing of nominations ended. He also filed his nominations on the last day and only a few minutes after the Congress announced to boycott the byelection.
“I went abroad for a programme on Gurbani Sangeet after learning that the byelection would be held in May. While I was there, it was announced to be held on February 13. I cut short my trip by 10 days. Then I fell sick. I still have bronchitis,” he told THe Indian Express, saying he could have easily been given time for a day to submit the requirement as the last date of withdrawing of nominations is tomorrow.
Yogendra Yadav, meanwhile, told The Indian Express: “Swaraj Abhiyan extended support to Bhai Baldeep, an independent candidate, who was supported by many organisations. Abhiyan was in no way responsible or involved with the technical aspects of his nomination. We continue to support him politically and hope that the Election Commission will not allow a minor technicality to stand in the way of his candidature.”