A day before the biennial polls for the ten seats of the Rajya Sabha, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday barred Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator Mukhtar Ansari from voting, an official said. The high court, staying the earlier order of the Ghazipur court which had allowed the mafia don-turned-politician to vote in polls on Friday, issued notice to Ansari, who is lodged in the Banda jail on charges of attempt to murder and conspiracy. Justice Rajul Bhargava issued the order on a petition filed by the Uttar Pradesh government, challenging the March 20 order of the Ghazipur court. Ansari, through the prison authorities, had written a letter to the special judge in Ghazipur requesting that he be allowed to cast his vote in the Rajya Sabha elections.
State’s counsel A.K. Sound and Vikas Sahay had pleaded before the HC that the Ghazipur court had taken a one-sided view on the matter without even considering the Representation of the People Act’s section 62 (5). The HC in its order, citing the Anukul Chandra Pradhan case heard by the Supreme Court, observed that the Rajya Sabha polls are also associated with this section of the electoral law and hence Ansari cannot ask for the right to vote as it was not a Fundamental Right.
This is set to be setback to the BSP, which is trying hard to get its candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar elected to the Upper House of Parliament. For the party, each vote is crucial and despite the support by Samajwadi Party, and others, the candidate is falling short of the magical number. The Election Commission had earlier in the day allowed Ansari to vote after which he and jailed Samajwadi Party legislator Hari Om Yadav withdrew their petition before the Allahabad HC seeking directions to the state government to allow them to cast their votes in the Rajya Sabha polls.