SHILLONG: Tura MP Conrad Sangma is accused of violating the provisions of Representation of People Act, 1951 by his Congress opponent Dikkanchi Shira as per the petition filed by her in the High Court.
According to the counsel for the petitioner K C Mittal, Conrad Sangma carried out misinformation campaign regarding the distribution of money under MGNREGS thereby tilting 60 percent votes in his favour.
“On the one hand, initially, the government was falsely accused of withholding the money meant for the job card holders creating a feeling of neglect by the government against the beneficiaries by the NPP candidate and on the other hand, he (Conrad Sangma) later stopped the distribution of money after lodging complaints with the Election Commission”, Mittal said over phone from Delhi on Saturday.
The petition was heard in the High Court on Friday following which the Court issued notice to the respondent Conrad Sangma. The matter will come up for hearing after three weeks.
When contacted, Sangma said that he was yet to receive the notice and added that he will file an affidavit after getting the necessary papers.
Sangma said if the case is related to MGNREGS, his job was to raise relevant issues as a candidate, and “I did not say anything adverse”.
The petition was filed before the High Court citing section 123 and subsection 2 of Representation of People Act, 1951 which prohibits corrupt practices and influencing the voters by way of direct or indirect interference.
MIttal, who is also the AICC legal and human rights department secretary said that the tactic adopted by the opponent was to deprive the voters from knowing the facts.
During one of the campaigns, Conrad had attacked the state government accusing it of misusing fund given by the Central government under MGNREGS resulting in New Delhi withholding the next installment and demanding utilization certificates which the state has allegedly been unable to provide.
During the campaign, Conrad had also said that the claim of Congress was that Narendra Modi government was not releasing funds to opposition ruled states, and added that the truth was that the Mukul Sangma government had misused Rs 300 crore of Central money allotted by Modi government for the MGNREGA works.
According to Mittal, at a later stage, the NPP candidate had also petitioned the Election Commission just through SMS that Rs 351 crore central fund released to the state government by the Centre under MGNREGS should not be distributed citing model code of conduct despite the fact that it was an ongoing project .
Later, the Election Commission withheld the amount, but finally the Commission allowed the release of the amount, but it was too late, according to Mittal..
Mittal, said that out of Rs 351 crore, almost Rs 100 crore was to be distributed to the job card holders from the respective blocks under Tura Parliamentary constituency.
According to the petitioner, if the payment was released in time, the election result would have been different.
“NPP candidate used undue influence, and the law in this regard is very clear that if a candidate misleads voters, maliciously and by way of concealment of facts , it attracts the provisions of Representation of People Act, 1951.
According to Mittal, the act of the NPP candidate was a kind of hypnotizing the minds of voters by way of misleading speeches.
(Source; The Shillong Times)