Congress candidate unseated
By Ravindra Saini
Declaring the nomination of BJP candidate, Anil Balooni, valid, the Supreme Court (SC) has cancelled the elections of Kotdwar Assembly constituency in Uttaranchal. The Congress candidate, Surendra Singh Negi and BJP'sAnil Balooni were the contenders for the Kotdwar constituency in the 2002 elections. The SC set aside the election of the Congress candidate, Surendra Singh Negi after allowing the petition filed by Anil Balooni, the BJP candidate whose nomination was rejected by the returning officer on the ground of interpolation. Shri Balooni had challenged the decision of the returning officer before the Uttaranchal High Court, which had dismissed it while upholding the election of the Congress candidate. Shri Balooni'sadvocate contended that there was a minor change made in the nomination form filed by the candidate and by no stretch of imagination could it be termed interpolation by the returning officer.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti, Justice G.P. Mathur and Justice P.K. Balasubramaniam, after hearing the appeal, found the nomination papers of Shri Balooni to be valid and on time. The bench also stated that the High Court made the error of ignoring the report of the Central Forensic Laboratory, Shimla, which had stated that forgery had been done in the nomination form of Balooni by the returning officer. Thus, after more than three years of allegations, counter-allegations and court drama, the Supreme Court countermanded elections to Kotdwar assembly constituency citing irregularities by the election officials.
Supreme Court unseats Congress candidate from Kotdwar constituency.
The move has come as a jolt not only to the sitting Congress MLA, Surendra Negi but also to the ruling Congress party. On the other hand the SC decision has brought back smiles on the faces of BJP leaders. State BJP president, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Leader of Opposition, Matbar Singh Kandari termed the Supreme Court order as a victory for democratic norms and urged the State Government to step down on moral grounds. Former Chief Minister, Nityanand Swami has also welcomed the SC decision. Talking to Organiser he said, ?The Congress, which believes in grabbing power by hook or by crook, has openly defied democratic values. Thus by coming into power through such immoral means, the State Government has lost the moral right to stay in power. The party has completely destroyed the purity of the state, which is known as the abode of God.?