Updated: September 29, 2021 12:39:11 am
The by-election to the Dadra and Nagar Haveli Lok Sabha seat that fell vacant after the death of independent MP Mohan Delkar will be held on October 30, the Election Commission said on Tuesday.
This will be the first election to be held after the unification of the UTs of Daman, Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli last year that are geographically aligned with Gujarat and have two Lok Sabha constituencies between them.
The late Delkar’s wife Kalaben Delkar or son Abhinav Delkar may contest the by-election even on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket if the party “removes administrator Praful Patel”, Abhinav told The Indian Express.
“We are keeping all options open. My mother Kalaben Delkar or I will contest the election. We have got invitations from the BJP, Congress, NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) and AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) and we are working on it,” Abhinav said.
About the choice of a political party, he said, “If the BJP removes Praful Patel as administrator from DNH, Daman and Diu, I may join the BJP… My father had an everlasting relationship with NCP chief Sharad Pawar who also helped us in fighting the legal battle. The Congress party to which my father belonged, also approached us and they also had supported us during the bad times. My mother or I have contested any elections earlier…”
Seven-time MP of DNH, Mohan Delkar, was found hanging in a room in hotel Sea Green South in Marine drive, Mumbai, on February 22 this year. Based on an FIR by Abhinav, the Mumbai police booked incumbent administrator of the Daman & Diu, DNH and Lakshadweep UTs, Praful Patel, District Magistrate Sandeep Singh, then superintendent of police Sharad Darade, deputy DM Apurva Sharma, sub-divisional officer Manasvi Jain, police inspector Manoj Patel, DNH law secretary Rohit Yadav, BJP leader Fatehsinh Chauhan and Dilip Patel (Talati) for abetment to suicide, criminal intimidation and other sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as under sections of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, on March 10.
The Mumbai police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) has so far recorded the statements of some 16 witnesses in the case, according to sources.
Abhinav, however, said, “We have not got justice yet… no major progress has been made in my police complaint and those accused in the FIR are still on the same top post in the administrations.”
Tribal leader Delkar left the Congress party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, contested independently on the reserved seat and won against BJP candidate and sitting MP Natu Patel and Congress candidate Prabhu Tokiya.
“To fight against the Delkar family is a tough job and for that, the BJP has to make a certain strategy. People’s feelings are with Delkar the family and they may get sympathy votes. Kalaben Delkar and Abhinav Delkar have no experience with elections. We will go with development works done in DNH such as EWS houses, roads, electricity, water facilities, etc., and we are sure that people will support us,” said Dipak Jadav, former president and executive committee member of the BJP in DNH.
According to Congress leader of DNH, Prabhu Tokiya, the accused in the Delkar suicide case “may influence the election”. He said, “In DNH, the power of elected leaders have been snatched and given to the administrative officials. The elected leaders are helpless even to carry out small development works… The party high command has told me to be ready for the bypoll. I am waiting for their further orders.”
The last date of filing nominations for the bypoll is October 8, while the date of scrutiny of nomination is October 11. The last date for the withdrawal of candidature will be October 13. The counting of votes will be on November 3. Electronic voting machines and VVPAT will be used for the bypoll, for which the model code of conduct came into force on Tuesday, according to the EC.
The commission has prohibited public meetings or processions during or after the nomination process for which only three vehicles will be permitted within 100 metres of the returning officer’s office. Indoor or outdoor meetings also should be held adhering to Covid guidelines.
For campaigns through video vans, not more than 50 people will be allowed in one cluster point.
For vehicles used for the campaign, a total of 20 vehicles allowed for a candidate or party excluding star campaigners with 50 per cent of the vehicle capacity. If a candidate or political party violates the guidelines, no permission shall be given to the candidate or the party for rallies or meetings, the EC said.
All persons involved in election-related duties shall be double vaccinated. One health worker should be appointed as Covid nodal officer at each polling station, it added.
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