Dismissed soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav, who was pitted against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi, had his nomination cancelled by the Election Commission which asked him yesterday for certain documents. Akhilesh Yadav, the chief of the Samajwadi Party, which fielded him, said the BJP should have faced a soldier, since they are "seeking votes in the name of nationalism".
Calling the move "wrong" and dictatorial", Tej Bahadur Yadav said he would go to the Supreme Court.
The former soldier had said he was contesting as "the election today is being fought in the name of the Army, but nothing has happened for the Forces... the Army is being defamed for votes."
The Commission had sent Mr Yadav a notice yesterday, asking him to clarify the cause of his dismissal by 11 am today. The reason was a discrepancy between the two sets of nomination papers he filed.
In the second nomination filed as a Samajwadi Party candidate, he had omitted details of his dismissal. His earlier nomination as an Independent candidate had all the details.
The rules state that a dismissed employee of the central or state government has to submit a clearance from the Election Commission that states he has not been sacked for "corruption or disloyalty to the state". Those dismissed for these reasons cannot contest elections for five years after the dismissal.
Mr Yadav, who made headlines by going public with his allegations of sub-standard food in the Border Security Force, was dismissed in April 2017. The reason cited was indiscipline, for which there is no bar.
But the district magistrate of Varanasi said Tej Bahadur Yadav had not submitted the clearance from the Election Commission within the deadline, which was 11 am today.
"I was asked to produce the evidence at 6.15 pm yesterday. We produced the evidence, still my nomination was rejected," said Tej Bahadur Yadav.
"When they are asking for votes in the name of nationalism, they should have faced a soldier. People who dismissed him from his job because he complained about food, how can those people be called real patriots?" Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said.
The former soldier was fielded by the Samajwadi Party against PM Modi on Monday - a move that was seen as an exercise in optics. Even the party of Arvind Kejriwal -- who had taken on PM Modi in 2014 and got more than 2 lakh votes - said it would back him.
On Tuesday, in a dig at the BJP, Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal tweeted, "Vote for the soldiers directly - in Varanasi... If your patriotism is not hollow".
Earlier, the Samajwadi Party had announced Shalini Yadav as the Mahagathbandhan candidate from Varanasi. She also filed her nomination on Monday. Party sources said it was a back-up in case there was a hitch with Tej Bahadur Yadav's nomination.
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