Mumbai: A decision on the appeal filed by BJP leader Gopinath Munde against rejection of his application to contest for the presidentship of the Mumbai Cricket Association at its biennial polls on October 18 would be taken on Thursday, according to his lawyer Nitin Pradhan.
The former Maharashtra deputy chief minister, whose application to contest the polls was rejected by the election officer on the basis of his residential criteria, has also decided to move the court if he is not given "natural justice" over his appeal.
Munde came to MCA office today, along with his lawyer, to appeal against the rejection of his candidature to MCA president Ravi Savant after filing a formal, written appeal on Tuesday.
He also cited a bye-law by which only another candidate can raise an objection against other candidate.
Pradhan said the decision on the appeal is expected around 11 AM on Thursday.
"I filed my nomination for the presidentship of MCA. But it was cancelled by the election officer. I appealed before the president of MCA. He heard my appeal. I hope that he will give me justice," Munde told reporters on Wednesday.
"There is a bye-law rule number 6 which says that nobody can take any objection to a candidate. Only candidates take objection against other candidates. The person who has taken objection against me, he was a Mr. Singhvi from Vile Parle Club. He has no legal right to object my candidature. The election officers have no right to listen to him. After it happened, my application was rejected."
Munde also called the rejection of his candidature as a conspiracy against him and hit out at rival presidential candidate and former MCA chief Sharad Pawar.
"This is a conspiracy against me. I am fighting for justice. There is a monopoly of Mr Sharad Pawar in MCA. I want to fight against this monopoly and I feel that the president should give me justice. If he does not give, I will go to Bombay High Court," said the BJP leader. Munde's lawyer, who came to file the appeal on behalf of the BJP leader yesterday, said he had submitted residential proof like passport details, power bills etc.
"I have submitted all the documents which include ordinary passport, the diplomatic passport which has been issued by the government of India, the income tax return and the pan-card as well as the electricity bills and the telephone bills. His permanent residence since 1986 has been 1201, Poorna at Pochkhanwala road," said Pradhan.
Terming the objection as stage-managed, Pradhan raised questions about the eligibility of the only other candidate for the post of president, Union Agriculture Minister Pawar.
"It appears to be a stage-managed objection. There was no question of Mr Singhvi attending the scrutiny. No notice was given to candidates, but how was the voter given the notice and how he was allowed to remain present during the scrutiny of nomination. There was no transparency. On the contrary same questions have not been asked about Sharad Pawar.
"There are indisputable and impeachable questions of law and it should be in my client's favour. There were two important questions which were raised during the arguments. The first issue is of Mr Sharad Pawar's residency.
"Mr Pawar has shown his permanent residence as Baramati in all official documents - Lok Sabha and the election commission. Therefore if Mr Pawar's residency is Baramati then under those circumstances he also is not eligible to contest this election, on the ground of rule 17 of MCA.
"Another important aspect which was argued is that election bye-law 6 of MCA mandates that only candidates can raise an objection at the time of scrutiny and no one else can remain present. No such notice was given to candidate to remain present.
"Mr Singhvi was not a candidate and was not entitled to remain present. He was entertained by the election officer as an objector or a voter which was against the rules. Therefore the entire process has been vitiated and the entire process has to be set aside and fresh election process should be started for the post of president," he said.
If Munde's appeal is rejected, Pawar will be the sole candidate left in fray for the presidentship.
Munde's application was rejected by the election officer on Saturday.
"His application was rejected as the address on his electoral registration was Beed. He can appeal before Oct. 15," MCA joint secretary Nitin Dalal had said after the BJP leader's candidature had been turned down.
According to MCA rules, only a Mumbai resident can become a governing member of the cricketing body.
A local club, Stylo Cricket Club from Mazgaon, had forwarded Munde's name to MCA last month saying the former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister would represent it at the elections.
According to rules, a candidate needs to be representing an MCA-affiliated club in order to be able to contest polls.