Adding a new twist to the electoral contest for the four Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, the BJP on Tuesday questioned the “no dues certificates” issued to Congress candidate Naran Rathwa by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, alleging that the certificates issued to him may have been forged. The BJP approached the Election Commission, demanding quashing of Rathwa’s nomination over alleged “irregularities”.
Earlier in the day, Suresh Angadi, whip of BJP Parliamentary Party in Gujarat, in a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, alleged that clearances from seven different departments were given to Rathwa in under 50 minutes that enabled him to file his nomination. The BJP’s complaint comes on a day when the nomination forms of Rathwa and other BJP and Congress candidates cleared the scrutiny process.
“We are shocked to find that the application for the “no dues certificate” was made by Rathwa around 2.25 pm on March 12, and the blank certificate was handed over to the office staff of the former MP to get it filled by respective branches and agencies… First of all, it is hard to believe that such sensitive documents can be handed over to the person who is seeking no dues certificate himself. Further, we are informed by the (Lok Sabha) Secretariat that at around 3.15 pm, the office staff handed over the duly filled in forms to the officer concerned of the MSA Branch. Implying thereby that the entire process of getting seven no dues certificates from seven different departments in the Lok Sabha Secretariat was completed in less than 40-50 minutes,” Angadi’s letter to Mahajan stated.
The certificates have been issued by departments, including Parliament Library, Computer, Estate Office, NDMC, MTNL/BSNL, CPI Cell and Publications/Sales.
Rejecting the BJP’s allegations, Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, who was present on behalf of the party during the scrutiny process, said that Rathwa, who has not been a minister since 2009, has submitted “notarised” certificates. “The BJP is trying to make an issue out of a non-issue,” Gohil said.
The elections to the four Rajya Sabha seats took a new turn on Monday, the last day of filing nominations, when Rathwa’s delay in filing papers led to the BJP fielding one more candidate, taking its total nominations to three. Both the BJP and the Congress, with their respective number of MLAs, could each send only two nominees to the Upper House. Amid a last-minute confusion, Congress leader P K Valera also filed nomination as an Independent.
‘Rathwa hiding cases against him’
- The BJP on Tuesday said that the bickering and infighting in the Congress have come out with Rajya Sabha nominations and added that by fielding P K Valera as an Independent candidate, the Congress has proved that there is an atmosphere of mistrust in the party. State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani also alleged that Congress candidate Naran Rathwa has hidden details of cases against him. ENS