The CANDIDATURE of a BJP nominee for election to Than taluka panchayat in Surendranagar was rejected Saturday after it emerged that he did not have toilet at home. The papers of a Congress candidate in Porbandar municipality were also rejected during the scrutiny.
Election officers scrutinised nomination papers filed for election to taluka and district panchayats and municipalities on Saturday.
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Vitthal Parmar, the returning officer (RO) for Than taluka panchayat election, came to know that Ragha Rangapara, a BJP candidate from Songadh seat of the taluka panchayat, did not have toilet at home. On this basis, the RO rejected Rangapara’s candidature. Last year, the BJP government in the state had amended Gujarat Panchayat Act, 1993, making it mandatory for one to have functional toilet at home to be eligible to contest election to any village panchayat, taluka panchayat or district panchayat in Gujarat. The move was aimed at promoting Clean India initiative of the Central government to make the country dirt-free by 2019.
“Rangapara had attached a sworn affidavit with his nomination papers, stating that he had a toilet at his home. But Congress candidate submitted a complaint with us stating there was no toilet at Rangapara’s home. We ordered verification by a talati, who submitted a report, saying there was no toilet indeed. Rangapara gave us in writing that he would not object if his candidature is rejected. On this ground, we rejected his papers,” Parmar said.
Rangapara is a resident of Songadh village in Than taluka and had filed his paper as a BJP candidate from Songadh seat. The Congress candidate from the same seat, Manglu Bhagat, had raised objection to Rangapara’s candidature, stating there was no toilet at his home.
“It was established that there was no toilet at his residence and therefore his candidature has been rejected,” Jitesh Koya, resident additional collector of Surendranagar, confirmed.
Rangapara is a farmer by profession and was contesting election for the first time. “Toilet at his home is under construction. Party leaders will take a call whether to appeal against the rejection of his candidature,” Jetha Zala, incumbent president of BJP-ruled Than taluka panchayat, said. On the other hand, Bhagat is likely to be declared winner uncontested as no candidate was left against him after the scrutiny.
Meanwhile, the candidature of Nazir Raykurda, Congress nominee for election to BJP-ruled Porbandar municipality, was also rejected as his name did not figure on electoral rolls.
“We found that his name was not there on the voters’ list. On this ground, we rejected his papers,” Aniruddhsinh Gohil, returning officer for Ward No.9, said.
“Now the only option left for us is to move court to challenge the RO’s order,” Jitu Aagadh, president of Porbandar district unit of Congress, said.