By A Special Correspondent
Can the election of Smt. Sonia Gandhi to Lok Sabha be declared void for filing a false affidavit before the Election Commission? Did she really make a wrong declaration about her educational qualifica-tions, when she submitted her nomination papers?
At least the NDA convener George Fernandes and the Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy are convinced that Sonia Gandhi will soon be unseated from the Lok Sabha on the basis of an election petition filed before the Rae Bareli court by the Janata Party leader.
?Lying under oath is a crime. She did it because she believes she can get away with even murder. The logical conclusion is that the Election Commission will have to take note of the obvious discrepancies in the affidavit,? says George Fernandes.
The Janata Party leader, Dr Subramanian Swamy filed a criminal complaint with the Rae Bareli District Magistrate, who is also the Returning Officer of the Lok Sabha constituency, against Smt. Gandhi, for filing a ?false affidavit? regard-ing her educatio-nal qualifications. Swamy has also set up an action committee comp-rising members of various political parties, with the intention of building up a movement to expose the ?truth about Smt. Gandhi.?
In the affidavit, Smt. Gandhi had stated that she had received her education in English and French at the Lennox Cook School, University of Cambridge, U.K. This sworn affidavit was filed by Smt. Gandhi as an annexure with her nomination form as candidate for the election to Lok Sabha from the Rae Bareli constituency.
The NDA leader told Organiser, ?This is false. The university has in writing denied that she was ever a student there. The university also has no affiliated institution by the name of Lennox Cook School. This wilful false declaration is an attempt to mislead and this is a criminal offence not only under the Representation of Peoples Act but Indian Penal Code as well.? Submitting the petition the Janata Party leader had asked the Election Commission to inform him ?on how the Commission'sstatutory and constitutional obligations will be discharged in this case of wilful false declaration by Smt. Gandhi on a sworn affidavit.?
Fernandes said the Election Commission in its reply to Dr Swamy on July 1, 2004, informed ?in case of any complaint regarding the filing of false information in the affidavit by the candidates, is supported by some documentary evidence, the Returning Officer concerned should initiate action to prosecute the candidates concerned by filing formal complaints before the appropriate authority.? Following this, Dr Swamy filed his petition before the Returning Officer, Rae Bareli, on September 20, 2004, citing the Election Commission´s letter, said Fernandes.
Dr Swamy had earlier, through three different sources gathered information about Smt. Sonia Gandhi'sacademic background from Cambridge. He says that Smt. Gandhi was never a student of any institution affiliated to the Cambridge University.
The former Defence Minister said, ?All legal channels will be utilised to oust Sonia Gandhi from Parliament, for giving false information about her education.?
He said that he had agreed to give full support to Dr Swamy in his campaign.
?All the people who are conscious of the implications of having such a person, who is not a citizen of India, as leader, should join the action committee proposed by Dr Swamy to oust Smt. Gandhi from power. She has no business to be in Parliament,? he said.
Asked if the BJP was with him on this, Fernandes replied, ?My party is fully with me. We will force all others to join us, because of the force of evidence we possess.?
Fernandes said the issue would be raised in Parliament.
The issue of Smt. Gandhi'seducation had cropped up earlier, in 1999 when in the Lok Sabha'sWho´s Who, the Cambridge certificate was mentioned and it was questioned. Subsequently it was reportedly clarified that it was a typographical error.