In their petitions, the BJP and TDP candidates alleged large-scale violations

A Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, comprising Justices Joymalya Bagchi and M. Ganga Rao, on Friday dismissed the writ petitions filed by K. Ratna Prabha and Panabaka Lakshmi seeking cancellation of the byelection conducted to the Tirupati (SC) Lok Sabha constituency on April 17.

The court observed that as per Article 226 of the Constitution, it cannot interfere with the conclusion of the election process, and being the competent election tribunal for the purposes of deciding election disputes to Parliament and Assembly constituencies under the Representation of People (RP) Act, it can examine evidence like a civil court and come to a conclusion after trial.

In her petition, Ms. Ratna Prabha, the BJP candidate, alleged that the byelection had witnessed large-scale fraudulent polling and booth capturing by the leaders and activists of the YSRCP as the officials on election duty remained mute spectators and fell prey to the machinations of the ruling party.

There were many instances of impersonation of legitimate voters and the absence of police barracks and check-posts resulted in massive irregularities, she alleged.

The election was, therefore, violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution and the RP Act, she observed.

Ms. Lakshmi, the TDP candidate, said the government officials and police had aided the YSRCP leaders in intimidating the voters and getting votes cast by outsiders.

Besides, the ward and village volunteers had threatened the people that the benefits being given to them under various welfare schemes would be withdrawn if they did not vote for the YSRCP candidate, she alleged. Citing various other electoral malpractices, she appealed for a repoll.

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