Cuttack: While the Congress is bracing up for the ensuing by-election to the Bijepur Assembly in Odisha’s Bargarh district scheduled on February 24, the party received a jolt as the Orissa High Court on Tuesday declared the election of Sundargarh Congress MLA Jogesh Singh null and void.
The directive of the court came in response to two writ petitions filed by Sahadeb Xaxa, the BJP candidate who was contesting for Sundargarh Reserve Assembly seat in the Assembly elections in 2014, and Ajay Patel, a voter.
The petitioners had alleged that Singh had submitted a fake caste certificate along with his affidavit stating that he belongs to Bhuyan tribal community.
Claiming that Singh is a non-tribal and belongs to Bhuyan Khandayat community, the petitioners had urged the court to declare his election as null and void.
The court, after a series of hearing, declared the election of Singh null and void.
“We had prayed the court to declare the BJD candidate as the winner as he had come second in the election. But the court rejected our appeal,” said Patel’s counsel Dayanand Mohapatra.
While there was no immediate reaction from Singh, sources said since the High Court has allowed him to reply within 15 days, there is every possibility that he would move the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order.