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Seven bypoll nominations cancelled

Confused about new norms, Khadakwasla by-election candidates goof up documents to be filed along with nomination forms

Goof-ups by candidates in a bunch of complex affidavits required by the election authorities has led to the rejection of seven of the 20 nomination forms filed for the Khadakwasla bypoll. Nominations of four Independent candidates and two candidates from minor political parties were cancelled by the Returning Officer (RO) during scrutiny, as irregularities were found in the documents they provided along with their nomination form.

Assistant Returning Officer Vijaya Pangarkar said that candidates might have been confused as it was the first time the new norms of State Election Commission were being enforced. "The SEC has put strict norms on candidates who want to file the nomination for the state assembly elections. The Khadakwasla bypoll is the first to come under these norms. This is the reason the candidates get confused while filling their forms," said Pangarkar. "Nevertheless, we have provided all the information to the candidates along with their nomination forms."

Sources at the Returning Office also hinted that there was another reason why the authorities were so strict; the district administration was worried that if more than 16 candidates contest the election then it will have to install a minimum of two electronic voting machines (EVMs) at each centre. The sources said that currently an EVM is capable of displaying the names of only 16 candidates, so authorities will have to install two EVMs if there are more candidates than that number.

Having more than one EVM also means more time consumed during the counting of votes. Sources said over one EVM would also mean the voters have to check two EVMs to read the names of all candidates.An independent candidate, Alankruta Awade-Bichkule, visited the RO to check why her form had been rejected. She said that she accidentally forgot to sign one of the affidavits. She demanded the RO give her the reason behind the cancellation of her nomination in writing. For the by-election, the substitute candidate for BJP was automatically cancelled when BJP-Shiv Sena official candidate Bhimrao Tapkir's nomination was accepted by the RO.

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