Maha BJP chief alleges malpractices in last year's MLC polls

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Mumbai, Jan 6 (PTI) Alleging irregularities in the conduct of Legislative Council elections held for six seats in Maharashtra last year, in which the BJP had suffered a setback, state unit chief Chandrakant Patil on Wednesday said he would approach the Election Commission and the Bombay High Court.

Addressing reporters, Patil demanded that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) should be used to avoid such 'malpractices' in future.

Elections were held for three graduate seats of Nagpur, Pune, and Aurangabad, two teachers' constituencies of Pune and Amravati, and a local body seat in Dhule-Nandurbar, in December last year.

Of these six seats, the BJP won only one while the rest constituencies were bagged by candidates of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.

'The BJP came to know that some 5,000 blank ballot papers were found in the Aurangabad graduate constituency, which was retained by the MVA alliance in polls. Even in the Pune graduate constituency, some 137 to 157 votes were cast in the last one hour of polling. This was recorded at some 300 polling booths out of the 900.

'Om an average, it takes three minutes for a voter to complete the voting procedure, which means maximum 20 people can vote in an hour. However, casting of votes by more than 100 voters in an hour raises suspicion,' he alleged.

Patil also claimed that some voters from Pune city were directed to go to distant polling booths on the day of voting.

'Such mistakes cannot happen unless it (the election process) is rigged,' Patil alleged.

He said the names of some voters who were educated up to class 8 were found in the voter lists for graduate constituency. PTI ND NSK NSK