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Gujarat: MLA Bhupendra Khant not Tribal, Scrutiny Committee Finds

File photo of the Election Commission of India building in New Delhi.

File photo of the Election Commission of India building in New Delhi.

Bhupendra Khant defeated BJP's Vikramsinh Dindor by over 4,000 votes in the December 2017 Assembly elections.

Ahmedabad: A scrutiny committee on Friday invalidated the caste certificate of independent MLA from Morva Hadaf, Bhupendra Khant, negating his claim to be belonging to a tribal community.

Morva Hadaf constituency in Panchamahal district was reserved for tribal candidates.

Following the decision, the ruling BJP in Gujarat said it would move the high court to have Khant disqualified.

Khant defeated BJP's Vikramsinh Dindor by over 4,000 votes in the December 2017 Assembly elections.

After winning, he joined the opposition Congress.

The five-member scrutiny committee headed by Tribal Development Commissioner R J Makadia had received a complaint from local tribal leaders that Khant produced a fake caste certificate to contest on a seat reserved for tribals.

"Based on the findings of our vigilance cell, the scrutiny committee on Friday invalidated Khant's caste certificate, as it does not satisfy various parameters laid down by the Central government," said Makadia.

The BJP said it would move the high court.

"As the committee has declared that Khant is not a tribal and yet contested and won from a tribal-reserved seat, we will file a petition in the high court as well as before the Election Commission to seek his disqualification," said a senior BJP leader.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer for Gujarat, Ashok Manek, said he will have to go through the order before commenting about what action the Election Commission may take.

first published:January 19, 2018, 21:59 IST