Politics

Gautam Gambhir Is Registered as a Voter in Two Constituencies, Claims AAP’s Atishi

The AAP candidate from East Delhi said her BJP rival's violation was "a disqualifiable offence", and could even be punished with jail time.

New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party’s East Delhi candidate, Atishi, has filed a complaint against Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Gautam Gambhir in a Delhi court for allegedly possessing two voter identity cards. She wants a first information report registered against the former cricketer-turned-politician.

Atishi has accused Gambhir of “deliberately and illegally enrolling as voter in at least two separate constituencies,” and of concealing that fact to authorities like the Election Commission of India.

In the complaint, filed through her counsel Mohammad Irsad, the AAP candidate sought “appropriate directions” to the station house officer of Karol Bagh/Old Rajinder Nagar police station to conduct an investigation.

Her affidavit in the court stated that after the submission, scrutiny and publication of Gambhir’s nomination, she learnt that he is “registered to vote from two separate constituencies, in flagrant violation of the law”.

This information, she submitted, was also available online and has been accessed by her from the Election Commission’s National Voters’ Service Portal.

Atishi also addressed a press conference to disclose the details of her complaint. She took to the Twitter too to state that Gambhir committed a “disqualifiable offence”.

She also urged voters not to vote for the BJP candidate, saying he would be “disqualified sooner or later for having two Voter ID cards!”

`Enrolling as voter in more than one constituency is a criminal offence’

The AAP candidate submitted that as per Section 17 of The Representation of the People Act, 1950, no person can be enrolled as a voter in more than one constituency and doing so is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment up to one year or a fine, or both.

Sections 17 and 31 of the said Act are reproduced below:

“17. No person to be registered in more than one constituency.— No person shall be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for more than one constituency. […]

31. Making false declarations.—If any person makes in connection with— (a) the preparation, revision or correction of an electoral roll, or (b) the inclusion or exclusion of any entry in or from an electoral roll, a statement or declaration in writing which is false and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.”

Atishi claimed that despite the law, Gambhir continues to provide false information and declarations to authorities like the Election Commission of India, in order to remain enrolled as a voter in two constituencies.

‘Gambhir concealed the fact that he is registered in two constituencies’

She claimed that in his nomination filed at the district magistrate’s office in Shastri Nagar, on April 23, Gambhir concealed the fact that he is registered in the two constituencies “perhaps because he feared that the same would disqualify him from contesting elections”.

“By only submitting the electoral roll of only AC-39, Rajinder Nagar in PC-04, New DelGambhi, NCT of Delhi, the accused deliberately gave false information to the Returning Officer that he is enrolled from only a single constituency,” the affidavit stated.

Also read: Travelling the Metro to Speak to Delhi’s Voters

She also submitted a copy of Gambhir’s affidavit in which he has stated that he is a “resident of 6B/8, N.E.A., Old Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi 110070” and that his “name is enrolled in AC-39, Rajinder nagar in PC-04, New Delhi, NCT of Delhi, at serial No. 285 in Part No. 43.”

`Wilful, deliberate acts make Gambhir liable for criminal prosecution’

Atishi insisted that “these wilful and deliberate acts of the accused during the nomination and scrutiny process are a blatant violation of 5 Sections 33 and 33A of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, and he is liable for criminal prosecution under Section 125A of The Representation of the People Act, 1951.”

Her affidavit elaborated, “Section 33 of the said Act imposes requirements on candidates to file nomination papers and in cases where a candidate is contesting in a constituency other than where they are registered to vote, to also disclose proof of voter registration at the time of scrutiny by the Returning Officer. Further Section 33A of the said Act requires candidates to file accompanying affidavits inter alia verifying information provided in nomination papers.”

As for Section 125A of The RPI ACT, it stated that this section “makes it a criminal offence to conceal information or provide false information in the Nomination Paper and Affidavit filed in terms of Sections 33 and 33A of the same Act.”

Rejected BJP candidate tipped off AAP?

An AAP source said it was through a BJP leader, who had been denied a Lok Sabha ticket by his party, that it came to know that Gambhir possessed two votes. He insisted that even after a change of residence, it is incumbent upon a person to get his previous vote cancelled before he gets a new one made, otherwise it constitutes a criminal offence.

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