Big setback for Congress as Supreme Court rejects party's NOTA plea

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 3, 2017

In Bengal, the term of two Congress MPs ends, but the party can win back only one seat, with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress set to send five lawmakers to the Upper House after a mammoth win in assembly elections past year.

When is the RS election?

Congress' Shantaram Naik, who held the RS seat from Goa, retired on July 18, 2017.

A big boost will come next year when the BJP will win eight of nine Uttar Pradesh seats that will be vacated, after sweeping assembly elections in the state this year.

Referring to the Income Tax Department (IT) raid at the Bengaluru resort where 44 Gujarat MLAs are staying, Kharge said it was done deliberately to "terrorise the MLAs so that they do not support the Congress candidate (Ahmed Patel)".

What was the EC notification?

In all these elections, instructions regarding NOTA have been applicable. But instead of the Supreme Court, the party approached the EC. But the party is free to take disciplinary action, including expulsion. The defiant voter can continue to be an MLA and his vote can also not be invalidated for defying party directions, the EC rules say.

The impending RS polls in Gujarat has thrown a somewhat keen battle with both BJP and Congress putting a lot prestige into it.

After the court refused to stay the notification, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Parmar, said that including NOTA in this election would "encourage corruption". The SC also stated that the results of the upcoming RS polls will be declared as per schedule.

The Rajya Sabha was on Tuesday repeatedly adjourned amid noisy -protests by the opposition over various issues.

Fearing NOTA may compound its miseries, the Congress on Wednesday moved the apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, contending that allowing the option in Rajya Sabha polls was "illegal" and "unconstitutional". "We strongly refute the campaign of the Congress party that the provision of NOTA was included on the behest of the BJP for the sake of Gujarat elections", he added.

The SC rejected Congress' plea and said that the NOTA option would be available to voters in the election.

The petitioner challenged the order issued by Secretary of Gujarat Assembly on August 1 for providing option of "None of the above" in the ballot papers for conducting elections for four Rajya Sabha seats.

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