The Telegraph
Saturday , May 10 , 2014
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Crusader questions mayoral repoll

A 45-year-old tribal leader on Friday questioned the logic behind holding a re-election for Ranchi civic chief’s post when a case regarding alleged horse-trading that led to countermanding of the last year’s mayoral poll is still pending in court.

Ratan Tirkey, who was in the fray for the cancelled mayoral poll last year, also demanded proper compensation from the state election commission for his hard-earned money that he spent for election campaigns.

He submitted a three-page memorandum to the office of state chief election commissioner Shiv Basant this afternoon.

Tirkey did his Personnel Management from XISS in 1990, but instead of taking up any company job, he started working for the cause of tribals. Last year, he decided to vie for the Ranchi mayor’s post, which is reserved for tribals.

“I spent Rs 4.86 lakh in the election last year. Coming from a farmer’s family, I had collected the amount by selling paddy and ginger produced in my land. This apart, I had spent more than a year to prepare for the poll with my supporters. I want compensation from the state election commission, which failed to ensure fair and free election, causing heavy losses to poor candidates like me,” he said during a news conference at his Lalpur residence.

The Ranchi mayoral election was countermanded after police seized Rs 21.90 lakh from Hotel City Palace near Lalpur Chowk, just a day before the April 8 polling last year.

Tirkey also questioned the move to countermand the poll when it had not been proved before the court of law whether the money recovered was meant for influencing voters.

“This is a mockery of poor tribals. The authorities concerned should prove the case in the court of law and punish the culprits first if they want re-election. Otherwise, it will be understood that the entire exercise has been made to keep poor tribals away,” he said.

He added as many as 14 tribals tried their luck for the post.

Also, Tirkey alleged that the commission, which wanted each and every information in black and white from a candidate, did not think it proper to at least sent a written communication to all candidates, informing them about countermanding of the election.

When contacted, the state chief election commissioner for his comments, Basant stated, “The mayoral poll was cancelled by the governor on the basis of a quasi-judicial order passed by the state election commissioner. The order was later upheld by the Honourable Jharkhand High Court.”

He further stated that the process for holding re-election had been set in motion after sending a proposal to the government.”

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