MP: Tribal Woman Moves Indore High Court Against Sarpanch Poll Winner, Claims Winner an Imposter
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Bhopal: A tribal woman who lost the sarpanch election of Bilkheda Vikas Khand of Madhya Pradesh's Rajgarh district with 92 votes has moved the Indore High Court seeking to declare the sarpanch's election 'null and void' as the winning candidate used false caste affidavit and contested on other's identity.
In her petition to the Court, Rajal Bai, a Shariya tribal, argued that the winning candidate Vineta Ruhela, an OBC (Other Backward Classes), filed a false affidavit of being tribal and contested the election impersonating her husband’s first wife Anita Ruhela. Anita, who got separated from her husband Satyanarayan Ruhela, a decade ago, remarried and moved to Rajasthan's Jhalawar district but her name on the voter list persists.
Satyanarayan chose to make his wife contest the election in his first wife's name as his second wife Vinita neither had a voter identity card nor had her name added to the voter list which is mandatory to contest the election, the petition noted.
"I sniffed a rat when Vinita Ruhela, a contestant, did not come to vote in a closely fought election," said petitioner's husband Ramesh Malviya over a telephonic conversation with NewsClick. "When I inquired around the village, it emerged that she was contesting in Anita's name without her consent. But remained quiet till the results were declared,” he said.
Anita emerged victorious with 92 votes in the sarpanch elections which were held on July 8, 2022.
"When she won, I flagged to the Rajgarh district collector and district election commission but in vain," Rajal Bai’s petition said.
In a 10-page petition, Rajal Bai argued that Satyanarayan and Vinita Ruhela mischievously filed nominations in Anita's name without her consent. Besides, Anita Ruhela is an illiterate woman who used her thumb impression, but Vineta's nomination paper has her signature.
The petitioner also alleged that Vineta replaced her photo with Anita’s on the voter id card. However, in the pamphlets, used for the election campaign, she used her own photo with Anita’s name.
Even in Samagra ID, it is Vineta who is shown as the wife of Satyanarayan Ruhela with no mention of Anita. “Therefore, it cannot be said that Anita is the wife of Satyanarayan and this relation had been misused,” stated the petition.
Rajal Bai’s advocate, Manish Vijayvargiya in a telephonic conversation, told NewsClick, “a voter identification card and the presence of one's name on the voter list are mandatory for contesting sarpanch elections but she has none. Therefore, she used Anita's voter card and name to contest but used her own photos in the campaign."
While hearing the petition, a single bench of Justice Subhod Abhyankar of Indore High Court sought a reply from the government by September 13.
Vijayvargiya further added, “while hearing the petition, the court had asked the concerned authorities to conduct an inspection and submit a reply before the next hearing on September 13.”
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