Digamber ArlekarDigamber Arlekar

February 3, the final day of filing nominations, was a tough one for several candidates -- across party lines -- as 'technical glitches' led their candidature to never make it to the ballot paper. Now, there's some hope that all is not lost as taking cognisance of their complaints, the State Election Commission (SEC) has ordered an inquiry and sought a report as soon as possible.

Returning officer in dock?
Several cases like that of NCP candidate from ward number 198 (Parel), Digamber Arlekar, whose nomination was not accepted by local returning officer despite being informed about the technical glitches in the online system, emerged on the day. Arlekar then filed a complaint over the issue, after which the SEC ordered the probe into matter.

In reply to Arlekar's complaint, the SEC official termed the issue 'very serious' and asked the BMC's deputy municipal commissioner to conduct an inquiry, a copy of which is in mid-day's possession. It states, "Ideally, the election returning officer should have accepted the nomination, but she refused. After appropriate inquiry, action should be taken immediately."

Speaking to mid-day, Arlekar said, "On February 3 at around 12 pm, I tried to submit my nomination online, but since the server was down, I approached the G-south (Worli) office at around 1.45 pm. After explaining the problem to the election officer, I requested her to accept my nomination. However, she refused. I don't understand what my mistake was."

Not the only one
Meanwhile, by no means is Arlekar the only candidate with this issue. Several other candidates could not get the print out of their nomination forms, which had to be submitted physically to the concerned returning officer. Even the Congress candidate from Ghatkopar ward number 126, Pratikha Ghuge's nomination was rejected. Now, she has also planned to approach a court against the 'injustice'.

The BMC election is scheduled for February 21.