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Activist moves court against Pawar’s ‘double-voting’ remark


Mumbai, April 9 :

NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s remark exhorting headloaders in Maharashtra to vote twice in the Lok Sabha elections – both in their home districts as well as their place of employment – has now reached the court with an activist seeking simultaneous polls in both places.

Mumbai-based social activist Pravin Wategaonkar, who has complained to the election commission in the state and lodged a criminal complaint with police in Navi Mumbai, also filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court Wednesday seeking elections in Satara scheduled April 17 should be conducted simultaneously with Mumbai-Thane elections slated for April 24.

Sharad Pawar
Sharad Pawar

The matter has been prompted by Pawar’s controversial remarks at a meeting of ‘mathadi’ (headloaders) workers in Navi Mumbai March 23, when he exhorted them to take advantage of the gap between polling in Satara and Mumbai-Thane.

Pawar urged them to first vote in Satara from where a majority of ‘mathadis’ hail April 17, return to Mumbai-Thane and vote here April 24 after ensuring that the indelible ink was properly erased.

Following protests over the statements, the Election Commission served Pawar a show-cause notice. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief apologized claiming that the remarks were made in a lighter vein. He was let off by the EC with a warning.

“This is exactly what I am challenging before the courts. It’s a serious matter and to avoid any kind of double-voting, I have demanded that the Satara and Mumbai-Thane elections should be held on the same date,” Wategaonkar told IANS.

Since the time is very limited and only the high court or Supreme Court can decide on this, Wategaonkar said the matter is expected to come up for priority hearing Thursday before the court.