Panaji: A defeated independent candidate who polled 625 votes in the March Assembly polls has written to the Election Commission of India demanding his election expenses back.
Trajano D`Mello, a former general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), wants the Rs 3 lakh-odd spent on his campaign returned because his poll campaign was specifically targeted by a local bureaucrat who was functioning under the Election Commission for the purpose of the election. And he also wants an apology from the bureaucrat.
"My entire election campaign was destroyed by the illegal, arbitrary and high-handed action of the additional magistrate from north Goa," Trajano told a news agency after mailing the letter to the Election Commission in New Delhi.
Trajano, who contested from the Saligao Assembly constituency, has said in his letter that his election campaign was scotched after the Additional Magistrate, S Sawant, hauled him for distributing a campaign CD. In Sawant`s view, it had religious content and was hence violative of the model code of conduct in place for the elections.
"Preventing me from releasing such CD, effectively prohibited me from canvassing the said election campaign, which had adverse effect on my election campaign. The said action was nothing but victimisation and the said officer misused his power to effectively prohibit me from proper canvassing which had adverse effect on the outcome of the election," Trajano said in his letter Thursday.
The Chief Electoral Officer had called the CD a violation of the code of conduct ahead of the March polls. The decision was set aside when Trajano appealed to the chief election commissioner in New Delhi.
"After the arbitrary and high-handed action of the Additional Magistrate, I was visited with several adverse consequences, namely, financial loss in the election expenses, valuable time was lost in the bargain of defending such order which was without jurisdiction which in turn affected my election campaign, myself, my family members and supporters suffered mental agony and trauma," he has said in the letter, imploring the poll panel to probe Sawant`s action.
"Sawant should be directed to tender an unconditional apology to me and reimburse all the election expenses done by me," he added.
Trajan said his expenses were well within the Rs 8 lakh limit stipulated by the poll authorities.
Trajano, 60, was among the 10 candidates contesting for the Saligao assembly seat and netted only 3.22 percent of the 19,409 votes. At the time of the election, the Class 10 graduate had total assets of Rs 76.37 lakh and Rs 61,000 in liabilities.