DW BUREAU / Chandigarh
The Punjab Congress on Thursday urged the Election Commission to cancel the candidature of BJP’s Swaran Salaria for the Gurdaspur bypoll for “concealing” information about a rape case filed against him in Mumbai.
A Congress party delegation, led by party spokesman Gurpartap Singh Mann, gave a representation to the Punjab Chief Electoral Officer seeking disqualification of Salaria’s candidature as he failed to inform the polling body about the case.
However, Salaria, when contacted, said he stated in his affidavit as much as was required for filing his nomination.
In the representation, the Congress claimed that the case was filed against Salaria on the complaint of a woman in 2014.
Mann said the next date of hearing in the case is October 30. “Salaria has deliberately concealed the facts in his affidavit that no FIR/chargesheet is pending against him.”
He said Salaria’s candidature is liable to be rejected as per section 125(A) of the Representation of People’s Act.
Section 125 (A) of the Act provides for up to six months of imprisonment or fine or both for giving wrong information or concealing any information in an election affidavit.
“Salaria is concealing a rape case registered against him, which directly links to his personal character and his act is a deceit with voters,” Mann said.
The Congress urged the CEO to declare Salaria’s candidature invalid and prosecute him as per legal provisions.
But senior BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia said the Congress party was resorting to such tactics for fear of defeat in the Gurdaspur bypoll scheduled for October 11.
Kalia said the Congress had no agenda for the by-election and is therefore indulging in propaganda.
He said that Column Number 5 in Form No. 26 clearly mentions that the person filing the affidavit has to provide information if he has charges framed against him under sections which invite a minimum imprisonment of two years.
“It means the person need not necessarily provide the information, which is not required. Salaria has a case against him under Section 506 of the IPC which has been granted stay by the court. This section invites a maximum punishment of six months, hence information regarding it was not required to be furnished at the time of filing the nomination,” he said.
BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal’s spokesman N K Sharma said the Congress was playing “dirty tricks” to divert people’s attention from the “total failure of the government”.