Smarting after the Supreme Court's refusal on Thursday to stay an Election Commission notification to introduce the None of the Above (NOTA) option for the August 8 Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat, the Gujarat Congress maintained that it would stick to the whip issued to its legislators to vote for the party's official candidate, Ahmed Patel.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar, however, agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the August 1 notification of the EC allowing the NOTA option. With the recent exodus of MLAs from the party in the State, the Congress had filed a petition in the SC to ensure none of its MLAs chooses NOTA option to invalidate their votes.
"When it suited you, you didn't come (to court), but you came to court, when it affected you", the bench said.
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Earlier on Wednesday, the ruling BJP govt had also approached the Election Commission seeking removal of the None Of The Above (NOTA) option in the upcoming Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat, a day after the Congress made a similar demand. The court said that it would hear the matter in detail on September 18.
Attorney General of India, K K Venugopal said that the centre has nothing to do with the ED notification of July 24 in which NOTA was prescribed.
The NOTA - none of the above - gives voters an additional option to reject all the candidates in fray.
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At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Gujarat Congress leader, sought a stay on the notification, saying that if the NOTA provision was allowed in the Rajya Sabha polls, it would encourage "horse-trading and corruption". "We are in power in most states and since the Rajya Sabha is a council of the states, the strength of the BJP has to be reflected", he said. "Why are you so late in raising the question?" the bench asked, according to ANI. Ms Uikey was elected unopposed in a by-election for the Rajya Sabha seat held by union minister Anil Madhav Dave, who died in May this year.
Should NOTA (none of the above) be an option in a State Assembly vote for the Rajya Sabha, as it is for the electorate in direct elections? Sibal replied, "It's not a question of winning or losing".
The Congress Party yesterday moved the apex court against the Election Commission challenging the introduction of NOTA option in the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat.
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The Congress has been rattled by a flurry of resignations from its MLAs. "Gujarat elections will be over by then".
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