The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has directed the Election Commission of India not to announce the bypoll for the Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha constituency till further orders. A bench comprising Justices Bhushan Gavai and Murlidhar Giratkar issued the direction on a PIL filed by Pramod Gudadhe, who said in his petition that Section 101(a) of the Representation of People’s Act provides for not holding the election if the next election is less than a year away.
He has also contended that two periods of code of conduct will ensue within this one year, one for the bypoll and the other for the next year’s general election, leading to development of the constituency being stalled. Also, a lot of expenditure will be incurred, which can actually be spent on development of the constituency, Gudadhe said, seeking cancellation of the bypoll.
The bench, after hearing the petitioner, has directed the EC to not issue notification for the bypoll till further orders and sought its reply in seven days.
The seat fell vacant following resignation by former BJP MP Nana Patole who joined the Congress a couple of months ago. Patole recently demanded declaration of the bypoll, alleging that the BJP was afraid of losing the seat and was not in favour of holding it. He asked why the poll wasn’t held along with Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls.