In the trial of election petition challenging the victory of state Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama in the Gujarat Assembly polls, the cross-examination of the petitioner, Ashwin Rathod, a Congress leader, began in the High Court on Wednesday.
Rathod, the Congress candidate who lost to Chudasama and challenged the result in the High Court, was cross-examined by the minister’s lawyer. Rathod was asked about the details of the counting, its process and his objections. The cross-examination will continue on Thursday by other respondents. Rathod had challenged Chudasama’s win on the ground that postal ballots were not counted. Besides, he alleged that there was a well-thought out design by the minister and others because of which miscounting was done.
Chudasama, who won Dholka seat in Ahmedabad district by a thin margin of 327 votes, had filed several petitions against Rathod’s election petition. However, all his petitions were rejected. He had moved the Supreme Court against the High Court orders from where he withdrew his petitions on February 9.
Earlier, Justice Paresh Upadhyay, who is presiding over the trial, had dismissed Chudasama’s application seeking quashing of Rathod’s petition. The Education Minister had said that the allegations violated the requirement of Section 83 (1) (a) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which states that “an election petition shall contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the petitioner relies”.
Justice Upadhyay dismissed Chudasama’s petition holding that “this court finds that the election petition not only discloses the cause of action, it also contains sufficient details, with material facts, on which the petitioner relies, with statement, as required.”