A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Bombay High Court by social activist Praveen Wategaonkar, seeking directions to the Election Commission of India to re-schedule the Lok Sabha elections at Satara from April 17 to April 24, the day when Thane-Navi Mumbai goes to poll, over NCP chief Sharad Pawar's recent 'vote twice' remark.
In the PIL, Wategaonkar has accused Pawar of telling his supporters to exercise double franchise and ensure that they erase the ink. The NCP chief made this remark while speaking on the occasion of the death anniversary of mathadi leader Annasaheb Patil, alleges the PIL, adding that it is an offence under the penal code. Most mathadis hail from Satara.
Wategaonkar, who has filed several public interest litigations in the Bombay High Court, including one seeking CBI inquiry in the Adarsh Housing scam case, has also written to the APMC police station requesting them to file an FIR against Pawar under Section 171-D of the Indian Penal Code (Personation at Election).
Recently, the Election Commission found Pawar's 'twice-vote' remark to be in contravention of the law. However, instead of initiating action by forwarding all available material to law-enforcement agencies, the commission merely expressed its displeasure and asked Pawar to be careful in future.
This, Wategaonkar says, amounts to protecting him from criminal proceedings and his vested political/electoral interests. "Further Pawar is a senior, seasoned politician and his call to erase ink; vote twice to Mathadi community gathering, natives mainly of Satara District now living in Navi Mumbai, is not an innocent act." The PIL is likely to come up for hearing before the high court on Thursday.