In a dramatic development, Syed Muhammad Hussain, Corporator of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has shot a protest letter to the election authorities alleging that allowing him to contest for the post of Deputy Mayor at the last moment on Saturday means SMC wants him out from the election process.
SMC is going to hold polls for Deputy Mayor’s post on January 13, 2020 which fell vacant following the arrest of former deputy mayor Sheikh Imran.
The SMC later notified for the elections to the post of deputy mayor December 30, 2019 issuing nomination papers from January 2 upto January 5, 2020.
The contesting corporators were supposed to submit their nomination papers by or before January 8, 2020.
On January 9, 2020 the nomination papers received by the office of secretary SMC were put to scrutiny. And the Corporation had notified that the notice of withdrawal of candidature may be delivered by a candidate at any time by or before January 11, 2020 upto 4 PM.
However, the SMC cancelled nomination papers of Syed Mohammad Hussain through a notice dated 10-01-2020.
“In pursuance to notification of election for the post of deputy mayor SMC, issued under this office number 2036-2126 dated December 30, 2019 your candidature nomination paper duly signed by proposer Aaqib Ahmad Renzu corporation Ward number 3, seconded by Inayat Hussain Mir Corporator ward number 47 was received on January 7, 2020 under serial number 003 in the office of secretary SMC in terms of the clause b of the notification,” reads the letter issued by the secretary SMC addressed to Syed Mohammad Hussain.
It adds: “The proposer of your nomination paper (Aaqib Ahmad Renzu approached personally to the office of secretary SMC on January 10, 2020 at 1045 hours and submitted an application where under he has withdrawn his name as proposer form your nomination paper. As such in view of the above, it is to inform you that your nomination paper has become invalid/infructuous, hence your candidature for the post of deputy mayor is cancelled.”
Hussain later challenged this cancellation through an appeal submitted before the Commissioner SMC. In his appeal Hussain pleaded that he has filed his nomination paper on January 7, 2020. He has added that he filed his nomination papers along with requiste documents in presence of proposer Aquib Ahmad Renzu Councilor Ward No.3 Brain which was seconded by Inayat Hussain Mir Councilor ward No.47 Nawabazar.
Hussain observed that it was only after proper scrutiny of his papers that his nomination papers were accepted by the SMC’s election authority.
That after scrutiny of the candidature forms of the candidates on 09-01-2020 the respondent (SMC) on 10-01-2020 issued an order which was served to the appellant (Hussain) through a runner of the corporation at 5 P.M and in order the respondent had revealed that during the course of scrutinizing under Clause-C of the notification all nomination paper including the appellant were found correct.
In his appeal, Hussain said that mere ratification cannot justify any ground for withdrawing his nomination. “That withdrawing the name from the nomination of the candidate by proposer does not prescribe or confer any right to the authorities to reject the candidature form of candidate,” Hussain has said in his appeal, adding that the proposer withdrew from his nomination after SMC had held its process of scrutiny of the nomination papers.
The SMC after going through the appeal on Saturday issued a communication number SMC/CS/2418-20 dated January 11, 2020 which reads: “The appeal in the aforementioned case filled by you against SMC communication number SMC/CS/2414-2416 dated January 10, 2020 has been considered on merits and it has been found that the proposer of your nomination paper for the post of deputy mayor SMC Aqib Ahmad Renzu has withdrawn his name after scrutiny of nomination papers was completed.”
The SMC reads further: “As such your nomination paper for the post of deputy mayor stands in force because of withdrawal of name by your proposer has been received after expiry of the time of scrutiny i,e on January 10, 2020.”
According to Syed Mohammad Hussain, this communication was handed over to him on Saturday at around 4 PM. He immediately contacted his lawyer and shot a protest letter to the SMC authorities seeking deferment of elections on various grounds. However, his protest letter was not received by the secretary SMC on Saturday as his office was by then closed, Hussain said.
Hussain’s protest letter reads: “I am honoured to file my present protest application before your gracious self for not contesting the Deputy Mayor Election because of your biased role on one hand you have issued an order dated 10-01-2020 vide no. SMC/CS/2414-2416 whereby you have declared my candidature cancelled at my back without following the due procedure of law of municipal corporation and served to me through the runner on same date at around 5P.M after all this on dated 11-01-2020 I filled appeal against that order and obtained order vide no.SMC/CS/2418-20 whereby you have allowed me to contest the election on that time when whole process of campaign was over.”
It adds: “That whole act of yours clearly suffice that this is deliberate act for restraining me not to conduct campaign for elections which is held to going on 13-01-2020.with the main motive yours is that I shall withdraw my nominee which is totally illegal and unwarranted under law. Now through this motion I raise my protest for not contesting Deputy Mayor Elections.”
Hussian said he has been unnecessarily side-lined by the SMC authorities for none of his faults. “How can I go to my corporators when I have no time left for campaigning. First they cancelled my nomination papers now they have allowed me to contest elections on Saturday evening. Isn’t it injustice and a biased approach of SMC authorities who seem to have some malafide intentions in this whole game.”
Commissioner SMC Khurshid Ahmad Sanaie said: “Earlier his (Syed Muhammad Hussain’s) main demand was to allow him to contest the elections now he seeks deferment of the elections. It is simply ironical.”
Sources in the SMC said that the election to the post of deputy mayor is prone to the eternal interference from some vested interests who are manipulating the allegiance of the corporators as per their own whims.