Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday demanded a thorough inquiry by the Election Commission.

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday demanded a thorough inquiry by the Election Commission, including a forensic examination of the pens with which the votes were cast, a day after votes of 14 legislators were cancelled leading to victory of a BJP-backed Independent candidate.

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“Never before I have heard or even imagined that conspiracy of this level could be hatched. I can say with firm belief that a conspiracy was hatched to enable victory of BJP-backed candidate (media baron Subhash Chandra),” Hooda told reporters.

Demanding forensic examination of the pens used to cast votes, Hooda said the Election Commission should conduct a thorough inquiry.

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Chandra defeated Independent candidate R K Anand, who had the backing of both INLD and Congress.

“In a democratic set-up, if such conspiracies are allowed to succeed, then our democracy will be in danger,” he said.

“I have demanded that the matter needs to be probed. R K Anand should file an election petition,” Hooda said.

Both Congress and INLD have pointed fingers at each other after 14 votes, which according to Haryana’s Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma and Leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala were of the Congress, were found to be invalid.

After his party backed Independent candidate Anand faced defeat, leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly and INLD leader Chautala had blamed Congress and claimed, “Congress party’s 14 votes were rejected because they registered their votes with another pen other than the one provided by the Returning Officer to record their votes in the voting compartment.”

Anand also blamed the former chief minister and said that barring one, all the rest 18 INLD legislators had cast vote in his favour, “but Hooda and party of the Congress have ditched”.

Hooda sought to clear the air, saying he has demanded a probe to unearth the conspiracy.

“When our MLAs went to cast vote, their pens and mobile phones were deposited outside the polling area. They cast votes with the same pen which was kept inside. Our poll observer B K Hariprasad was shown the votes which were being cast by our party legislators.

“So, how this conspiracy was hatched, it is easy to find out if Anand files the petition and within 24 hours one will get to know the truth behind entire conspiracy,” Hooda said.