The Lok Sabha elections 2019 have unfolded with much fanfare and friction. As the Election Commission (EC) and its local bodies and officials have been conducting the world’s largest democratic exercise for crores of people, the Lok Sabha elections 2019 has seen sporadic violence and several model code of conduct violations from parties and candidates, including high-profile politicians like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
Two lesser-known candidates have been catapulted to national fame after their applications to contest the general election were rejected.
Congress candidate Hardik Patel and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) Tej Bahadur Yadav have been barred from standing for elections. But both are moving the Supreme Court to overturn the rejection of their applications.
Court refuses to stay Hardik Patel’s conviction
Hardik Patel filed a nomination to contest the Lok Sabha 2019 elections in Saurashtra as a candidate from the Congress. He was also sentenced to two years in prison for leading a riot against BJP MLA Rishikesh Patel in 2015.
Advocate for the government, Dharmesh Devani, argued that Patil’s 14 pending FIRs disqualified him from contesting as he is a “regular offender”. The EC’s model code of conduct says that if a candidate has been sentenced to two or more years in prison, they cannot contest elections.
However, Patil said, “My only crime is that I have raised voice against the BJP. I will campaign for the Congress and we will form the government.”
On March 29, the Gujarat High Court refused to stay Patel’s conviction. Patel then moved the SC to appeal the High Court’s decision.
Patel’s deadline to file his nomination was April 4, only days after his nomination was rejected. The SC further complicated matters for Patel after it decided that his case was not one that needed to be urgently heard.
As his hearing is still pending, Patel has been unable to contest the elections in Gujarat that went to the polls on April 23 in phase 3.
Indian Express also explained that if the SC does not rule in Patel’s favour, he will not be able to contest future elections until the criminal case against him gets a final verdict.
Tej Bahadur moves Supreme Court to contest elections
Tej Bahadur Yadav expressed his desire to contest against Modi in Varanasi constituency as a Bahujan Samajwadi Party candidate. He filed his nomination on April 24.
His nomination came under scrutiny when he checked “Yes” to the question, “Where the candidate was dismissed for corruption or for disloyal while holding office under the Government of India or the Government of any State?”
Tej Bahadur told the SC that he made a mistake by marking “Yes” and filed another nomination on April 29.
However, the EC rejected Tej Bahadur’s nomination on the grounds that no one who was fired from a government position can contest an election for five years after unless the EC issues a no-objection certificate, explains India Today.
He had not acquired such a certificate.
Tej Bahadur was a BSF jawan who was relieved of his duties in 2017 after he uploaded a video complaining about the quality of food served to the troops.
Now, Prashant Bhushan, a prominent lawyer who is representing him, is arguing that Tej Bahadur’s dismissal was not on the grounds of “corruption or disloyalty to the state”, as is the criteria that precedes a no-objection certificate.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has asked the EC to examine Tej Bahadur’s petition and make a decision on his nomination by tomorrow, May 9.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius.