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Cong MLAs claim Choudhry’s vote got rejected; she hits back calling it a ‘scandalous and sinister campaign’

Party sources said that she had filled the ballot paper “wrong” due to which her vote was rejected and Congress’ number game got disrupted, eventually leading to Maken’s loss.

kiran chaudhry mla congressCongress MLA Kiran Choudhry. (Photo credit: @officekiran/Twitter)

It was not only Congress MLA from Adampur Kuldeep Bishnoi who sank party nominee Ajay Maken by not voting in his favour; but several Congress MLAs claimed that Tosham MLA Kiran Choudhry’s vote was rejected for “wrongly casting the ballot paper”. Party sources said that she had filled the ballot paper “wrong” due to which her vote was rejected and Congress’ number game got disrupted, eventually leading to Maken’s loss.

“Every MLA was supposed to mark their first, second or third preference by way of marking the numerical 1, 2 or 3 against the names of three candidates written on the ballot paper. Instead of marking her preference by numerical 1, she inserted a ‘tick mark’ against the nominee’s name. It was a gross mistake and was not at all expected from a veteran and seasoned politician like her. Her vote had to be rejected. I am surprised how a veteran politician of her stature could do such a mistake. It is nothing but deliberate,” a senior Congress leader said.

Choudhry, however, vehemently refuted the claims made by her own party colleagues.

“It is absolutely rubbish. What do they mean to say that I do not know how to cast my ballot paper? I showed my vote to party observer Vivek Bansal also. What do they mean to say that I don’t understand the difference between numeric and a tick mark? I am going to take them to the cleaners. This is bizarre. I had cast my ballot paper, perfectly according to the norms,” Choudhry said.

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Choudhry added that the accusations against her was a “scandalous and sinister campaign”. “It is a secret ballot and no one can know about its contents. This is absolutely scandalous. I shall take legal recourse against this scandalous campaign against me,” she said. She added, “The ballot is a secret. In every poll, a few extra ballots are issued. The Election Commission seals all those ballots immediately after the polling gets over. Here, in this case, the matter had reached the Chief Election Commission and the ballot papers were already sealed. After the CEC gave clearance for the voting, only then were the ballot papers de-sealed. Even the Returning Officer has no access to the ballot papers as the matter had reached the CEC.”

On certain Congress MLAs claiming that it was Kiran Choudhry’s vote that was rejected, Returning Officer RK Nandal said, “Frankly, it is not that kind of a secret ballot. Also, the number of votes here in Haryana is not that many. The serial number wise ballot papers are given to the MLAs who come to cast their vote. So, at the time of counting, it is not very difficult to find out which ballot paper was filled by which MLA. Then, at the time of counting of votes also, the serial numbers are visible. And, when a vote is rejected, it is seen even more minutely to rule out any doubts. Then, it becomes even more clear that whose ballot it was”.

CLP leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “What can I say at this stage? I have yet not met our election agents who were inside the polling station. Once I meet them, only then can I say what went wrong. As of now, it is clear that Kuldeep Bishnoi did not vote for our nominee and one vote was rejected. I am not aware whose vote has been rejected. That damaged our number game. Had this vote not been rejected, we could have won.” Talking about Bishnoi, Hooda said, “We were as such not counting him. It was known that he would go against the party. But, we still had 30. Yet, we lost.”

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Another senior Congress MLA said, “Vidhan Sabha had sent a detailed four-page circular by email to each of the 90 MLAs on June 3. It elaborated all the dos and don’ts, how to cast the ballot, how to mark your preference, what all you don’t need to do etc. She [Kiran Choudhry] should have at least opened her email and read that circular, if she did not want to be part of the training session that we held for our MLAs to avoid such a fiasco.”

After the Rajya Sabha polling results, Congress MLAs are up in arms against both Bishnoi and Choudhry. “Party needs to introspect and take substantial decisions. If a bunch of 31 MLAs cannot stay together, we should realise the state of mess we are in. Had Rahul Gandhi given time to Bishnoi and given a pat on his back, he [Bishnoi] might have got pacified and voted for the party. But it did not happen. It appears that Bishnoi has already made up his mind to switch to BJP. Even if he does not quit Congress, the party should take a strong decision and a lesson needs to be taught to such back-stabbers,” another senior Congress MLA said.

First published on: 12-06-2022 at 12:50:22 am
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