Surendra Bhagalkar, ShivSena candidate from Ward 220, wants results quashed, moves to court

Shivsena leader Surendra Bagalkar has approached court seeking quashing of the BMC election in his ward, which had ended in a tie. In Ward 220, a lottery was picked up by a five-year-old girl after Bagalkar and BJP’s Atul Shah got the same number of votes. Shah was declared winner as the chit picked up by the girl had his name.

Bagalkar, through advocate Balrishna Joshi, has said before the small causes court that the election result should be set aside. He has also sought for opening of the electronic voting machines (EVM) from four polling booths of the ward by the court to find out in whose favour bogus votes were cast so that those votes could be reduced from the final count.

Bagalkar is referring to five tendered votes kept in sealed covers in his ward. A tender vote is recorded when a person approaches the election authorities at the booth proving conclusively that someone else had voted in his name as a bogus voter. The person’s vote is then recorded on a ballot paper, which is kept sealed.

“The petitioner (Bagalkar) states that if the said tender votes would have been considered by the returning officer before declaring result of the Ward 220, probably the result could have been different since the tender votes would have materially affected the result of the election of Ward 220,” says the petition filed by Bagalkar.

As per a previous order by the Supreme Court, the petition says, tendered votes can be taken into account only when their counting is going to affect the result of the election.

In this case, Bagalkar has said, since the difference between the two candidates was less than the number of tendered votes recorded, factoring in tendered votes would be affect the final result. “The court has adjourned the matter to March 20 and has issued notices to the state election commissioner, the BMC commissioner, the returning officer and Atul Shah,” said advocate Joshi.