The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rejected rebel turns to EC
- Mayavati, DM charged with intimidation

New Delhi, Nov. 10: Suresh Nanda, thwarted Rajya Sabha nominee of BJP rebels, has taken his fight to the Election Commission.

Nanda has filed a complaint with Nirvachan Sadan against chief minister Mayavati, the Ghaziabad district magistrate and the returning officer, charging them with intimidation to force him out of the Rajya Sabha race.

Nanda, who demanded countermanding of the polls, told the commission: “I fear for my life. I was initially telephonically threatened with life not to file my nomination papers from Uttar Pradesh. And was later told that I would be arrested if I filed them.”

The Delhi-based arms dealer said: “Since I filed my nomination papers, state machinery was used by the chief minister to force the district magistrate of Ghaziabad to cancel my voter registration and lodge false FIRs for alleged forgery.”

The BJP dissidents’ attempt to force a contest for the Rajya Sabha seat fell through after Nanda was attacked and threatened by BJP legislators yesterday. Once he pulled out of the race, industrialist Lalit Suri was declared the BJP candidate for the seat.

But Nanda’s chances cannot be ruled out. “His letter of withdrawal is an irrelevant document and the Election Commission, which stayed the process of scrutiny of nomination papers following a complaint by Nanda, has found his address (to be) right. We will take a decision on his nomination papers tomorrow, the last date for withdrawal,” Rajendra Prasad Pandey, secretary of the Assembly and returning officer for the Rajya Sabha elections told The Telegraph late in the evening.

The Congress, BJP and BSP leaders, who seem to have ganged up against Nanda, hope they can get his nomination rejected tomorrow on other technical grounds.

Embarrassed by the unseemly incident, state BJP leader Kalraj Mishra today urged party president M. Venkaiah Naidu to take disciplinary action against the rebel MLAs.

Even as Naidu agreed this evening, a rebel spokesman said eight dissidents, including their leader Ganga Bhakt Singh, would travel to Delhi to meet deputy prime Minister L.K. Advani in the next couple of days.

The dissidents today backed Nanda’s complaint by faxing a message to the Election Commission, demanding that either his nomination paper be declared valid or the poll process be started afresh in view of the circumstances that led to the withdrawal of his nomination.

The arms dealer alleged before the commission that he was forced to withdraw from the race under “duress” and asked the panel not to act on it. Demanding the returning officer’s suspension, Nanda said he should be replaced with an officer of the panel.

He also demanded an inquiry into how his original affidavit was removed from the records. Levelling a series of charges against his “opponents” in the BJP, Nanda demanded that the commission countermand the entire poll process in the state.

He wanted FIRs to be filed against state BJP leaders Lalji Tandon, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Pandey and Congress leader Pramod Tiwari for “assault and attempts at kidnapping”.

Nanda told the commission the incident has vitiated the atmosphere and undermined the free and fair election process. Therefore, the polls should be countermanded.

Nanda has also appealed to the President, the Prime Minister, the deputy Prime Minister and the Chief Justice. In his string of complaints to the commission, Nanda charged that due procedure of law was not followed while scrapping his registration as a voter, especially in view of the fact that he held a valid ration card and an electoral registration certificate.

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