Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a blow in the municipal corporation yesterday after senior party corporator from Juhu, Dilip Patel, was disqualified from his post for forging his caste certificate. The BMC’s election department declared his election to the position null and void with immediate effect, and the state Election Commission will decide on the date of a re-election.
BJP’s Dilip Patel was disqualified from his post for forging his caste certificate
Patel, a corporator from ward number 63 (K/West), contested the municipal corporation elections in 2012 on a caste certificate, which proclaimed his caste as ‘leva patidar’. The ward had been reserved for the Other Backward Caste (OBC) category that election. Jayantibhai Siroyya, the Congress’ candidate and runner-up in the polls for the ward at the time, had even challenged Patel’s win in court.
After Siroyya took the matter to court, the High Court cancelled Patel’s validity certificate in September 2012 and asked the BMC to investigate the matter. After Patel’s caste certificate was scrutinised by a caste verification committee, a state government body, it was found to be invalid. The committee then submitted their report to the BMC on May 20.
The corporation then communicated the decision to Patel yesterday, three weeks after the forgery was proved. Thus, his election has become null and void with retrospective effect. All the decisions and proposals mooted by Patel that are currently under process also stand cancelled. The BJP lost a corporator — Bhavna Jobanputra from Mulund — earlier this year; she was disqualified for submitting a fake caste certificate.
Patel has also been accused of tampering with his caste certificate and validity certificate. According to a state Election Commission circular, if a person contests an election based on a forged caste certificate, his election is considered null and void. This is one of the several instances where corporators have been disqualified for forging caste certificates when a certain seat in their ward becomes reserved for a particular caste.
Since Siroyya’s case is still in court, he cannot be appointed directly as the corporator of the area. “The Election Commission will now decide on a date for re-election unless the result of Siroyya’s court case is declared before that. But Patel has been disqualified with immediate effect,” said Manohar Jadhav, assistant election officer, BMC.
While Patel remained unavailable for comment, BJP’s group leader in the BMC, Manoj Kotak, said, “He is a senior party leader and we are going to challenge this decision in the High Court.” Shiv Sena’s Trushna Vishwasrao, leader of the house, said, “This is shocking. I never thought such a thing would happen. But since this is the committee’s decision, we have to accept it.”