Neelima Manoj Pawashe will file the petition
Declare election null and void is the plea
Corporators belonging to the Marathi group in the Belgaum City Corporation have decided to challenge the election of Prashanta Shantinath Budavi as Mayor and Yunis B. Momin as Deputy Mayor on the basis of “glaring irregularities and illegalities” in the process of their election allegedly committed by Regional Commissioner Election Officer Amita Prasad.
Talking to presspersons here on Wednesday, Marathi group leader in the corporation Dhanraj Gauli said a petition would be filed in the district court within two days by their group member Neelima Manoj Pawashe demanding that the election of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor be declared null and void. Ms. Pawashe and corporator Swati S. Bailurkar were present.
Ms. Pawashe had also contested for the Mayor’s post but lost to the Sarvabhashik Samvichar Vikas Vedike’s (SSVV) Ms. Budavi on March 4. Mr. Gauli alleged that the presiding officer had changed the time of the of election at 2 p.m. when all the members were present in the Council Hall at least two hours before the 9 a.m. start.
The Marathi corporators were not informed of the change in time of the election. However, Ms. Prasad claimed, a “press note” was issued announcing the change of time. But, Mr. Gauli said, the election officer should have informed the corporators concerned through the council secretary about the change of time instead of issuing a press release. Secondly, by 2 p.m. only 30 of the 58 corporators were present and the others were absent, including Ms. Badavi. As per the agenda, the oath was administered to only 30 corporators present and the presiding officer resorted to scrutinising nomination papers and declared the five nominations, including that of Ms. Budavi, as valid though she was neither present nor had taken oath to become a legitimate member of the council.
But the presiding officer took a “quick break” from the process of scrutiny and between the 10 minutes given for withdrawal of nomination administered oath to the 28 corporators who had arrived mid-way through the process by setting aside protests from the Marathi corporators.
Then, Rajesh G. Tirkannavar representing Ward No 39 had proposed the candidature of Shanta Hanumant Uppar and seconded Ms. Budavi’s nomination for the Mayor’s post, which was not at all permitted under the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (Election) Rules, 1979.