Tejashwi Yadav Thursday said the RJD might move court if the Election Commission is not able to satisfactorily answer queries of 20 Mahagathbandhan candidates who lost by very narrow margins, and demanded that the postal ballots in these constituencies be recounted and a detailed break-up of valid and invalid votes provided. However, he didn’t specify which 20 seats he was talking about.
Addressing a joint press conference, also attended by Congress campaign committee chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Tejashwi said: “We firmly believe that we (the Mahagathbandhan) won not 110 but 130 seats. The EC did not abide by its own rule on counting the postal ballots first. There were at least 20 seats where our candidates lost by slender margins. We are asked to provide evidence (on the charges). But it is the EC that has to give evidence… the complete video-recording of counting of postal ballots. We also wonder how 500 to 700 to 900 postal ballots were declared invalid.” He added that postal ballots are cast mainly by professionals, “who know how to use them”. “The EC has to satisfy queries of our candidates or else we might move court.”
The RJD leader, who was the Mahagathbandhan’s CM candidate, said there was a difference of “a little over 12,000 votes” between the alliance and the NDA. “How did these 12,000 votes result in defeat for us?” said Tejashwi, alleging use of “chhal aur bal (deceit and force)”. The RJD tweeted that while the Mahagathbandhan had got 1,56,88,458 votes, the NDA’s count was 1,57,00,728 votes.
Separately, Tejashwi, who met his newly elected MLAs Thursday, advised JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar “not to accept the chief ministerial position if there is any morality left in him”. Asked if the RJD had reached out to NDA allies Vikassheel Insaan Party and Hindustan Awami Morcha (S) in an attempt to put together numbers, Tejashwi said the two parties should also realise that the mandate was for “change”. “They have to take a decision.”
He added that while Nitish claimed to have carried the RJD to power in 2015, he had now finished a poor third, with 43 seats. “Despite all the odds, the RJD is still the single-largest party… Nitish Kumar must not attempt to grab power from the back door. If he has any morality left in him, he should not accept the CM chair and must respect the mandate, which is for change.”
Dipankar Bhattacharya, the general secretary of the CPI (M-L), which is a part of the Mahagathbandhan, said they would take a call on legal remedies based on evidence sought from returning officers. D Raja, the general secretary of the CPI, another Mahagathbandhan ally, said there were “defects” in EVMs, while certificates were handed over late.
Tejashwi played down the AIMIM factor and the poor showing by the Congress as reasons for missing out on forming a government.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines