The Supreme Court on Friday rejected two separate petitions by senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot seeking directions to the Election Commission to provide the draft voters’ list in poll-bound Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in text format. The petition was heard by a two-judge bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.

The elections in Madhya Pradesh will be held on November 28 and Rajasthan will vote for electing a new government on December 7. In their petitions, the Congress leaders alleged that there were a large number of duplicate names appearing on the voters’ list and asked the apex court that the same be made available in the text format in order to facilitate scanning of the names against the list.

The Congress hopes to remove BJP from power in both states in upcoming assembly elections, which are being seen as semi-finals to 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, opposition parties – Mayawati’s BSP and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party – have decided to go alone in next assembly elections including Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. 

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Senior lawyers and Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal represented petitioners in this matter seeking directions to be issued to the Election Commission for free and fair elections.

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However, senior lawyer Vikas Singh, representing the Election Commission, assured the Supreme Court that a large number of duplicate entries from the voters’ list were already weeded out by the Election Commission before the issue was taken up by the Congress party leaders.

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