Guna (Madhya Pradesh): From forming a government to bringing it down, one vote can make a huge difference.
If we look back at the history of elections in the country we might spot several instances where the tables were turned by just a single vote and one such instance was reported in Guna district where the sarpanch was changed in a village within 4 months after she lost by a margin of two votes in re-counting.
The matter was reported at Mhowkhana panchayat, where Laxmibai Ahirwar upset with gram panchayat elections challenged the election results in SDM court and on Wednesday after re-counting of votes, the decision went to Laxmibai’s favour and she was declared the winner by a margin of two votes. With this, Mhowkhana panchayat got a new sarpanch within four months.
Earlier, complainant Laxmibai has accused of manipulation in counting after her rival Radhabai was declared the winner on July 14 by a margin of just one vote. As per the results declared on that day, complainant Laxmibai got 176 votes, while Radhabai got 177 votes.
Meanwhile, Laxmibai claimed that she got 176 votes, while Radhabai 175 votes. To support her claim, she produced duly sealed slips of votes she got. Laxmibai raised her objection over the results and showed those sealed slips, but no action was taken during that time. She was told to file a case. After this, a petition was filed in the SDM court through advocate Mazhar Alam Khan.
According to information, the entire mess was reported while counting slips of polling station No 253. Here Lakshmibai got 102 votes, while her rival Radhabai got 117 votes. Apart from these, the third candidate Anita Jatav got 22 votes.
In the appeal presented to the SDM, it was alleged that in the counting of votes, the presiding officer gave the sealed vote counting slips to the candidates, in which the three had 102, 117 and 22 votes respectively. But on the day of tabulation, the vote counting slip shown by the presiding officer showed 102 votes for Laxmibai, 119 (instead of 117) for Radhabai and 20 (instead of 22) for Anita Jatav. These two votes for Radhabai from polling station No 253 helped her to surpass Laxmibai’s tally of 176 votes, by one vote.
While hearing the petition, on November 7, the SDM issued orders of re-counting. In the order, the SDM mentioned that overwriting has been done in the counting slips. Due to the possibility of affecting two votes, the result is also affected. Therefore, the case should be resolved by re-counting on November 16.
Following the order, re-counting was done on Wednesday in the SDM office itself. The votes of polling station number 253 were re-counted and it went on for about two hours.
Big upset in re-counting
There was a big upset in re-counting that took place on Wednesday. During the entire process, as many eight votes were rejected, including two votes which were cast in favour of Lakshmibai. As a result of that, her tally was reduced to 174, while not a single vote was cast in favour of Anita Bai and her final tally remained at 173.
At the same time, three votes of Radhabai, who was declared the first winner earlier, were rejected and her actual vote count was reduced to 172 (earlier 175).
After recounting, Lakshmibai was declared the winner as her final tally stood at 174 votes, while Anita Bai who emerged in the third position climbed to the second position, while the previous winner Radhabai slid to the third position.
SDM Virendra Singh Baghel told that now the order will be issued and sent to tehsildar (Election Officer). He will issue a certificate of victory to the new sarpanch.