The Election Commission today rejected Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s vote in the Presidential poll and directed the Returning Officer (RO) not to count it as the secrecy of the ballot had been violated. “The issue of second ballot paper to Mulayam Singh Yadav was not warranted under rule 15 of the Presidential and Vice- Presidential Elections Rules, 1974. Therefore, the second ballot paper issued to Yadav may not be taken up for counting,” the Commission said.
The poll panel also directed the RO that the first ballot paper issued to Yadav cannot be counted as its secrecy was violated. In a faux pas, Yadav had yesterday cast his vote in favour of BJP-backed candidate P A Sangma instead of UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee but realised his mistake to make a correction. Yadav, who was among the early voters, after marking his vote for Sangma, tore the ballot paper and sought a fresh one from the polling officer, according to sources. The SP chief then marked his correct preference on the fresh ballot paper.
The ballot paper carrying the incorrect entry made by Yadav was deposited with the polling officer, the sources said. The Sangma camp had lodged a complaint with the RO, V K Agnihotri, who is the Lok Sabha Secretary General, and sought cancellation of the second ballot paper issued to Yadav. Sangma’s authorised representative Satya Pal Jain had filed a written complaint with the RO contending Yadav was not entitled to second ballot paper under the law. Agnihotri had later written to the EC on the issue alongwith Jain’s complaint.
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