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Guj MLA Bhupendra Khant’s caste certificate invalidated again

Spelling fresh trouble for Bhupendrasinh Khant, the independent MLA from Morva Hadaf constituency in Gujarat, a scrutiny committee has once again invalidated his caste certificate, negating his claim to be belonging to a tribal community.

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

The scrutiny committee, headed by Tribal Development Commissioner R J Makadia, invalidated Khant’s caste certificate after going through the documents provided by him in support of his certificate that declared him a tribal.

Khant had defeated BJPs Vikramsinh Dindor by over 4,000 votes in the December 2017 Assembly elections. The legislator had later announced that he would join the Congress.

“The scrutiny committee went through the documents provided by him in support of his argument and found that he does not belong to the tribal community as per the parametres laid down by the central government,” Makadia said.

The committee had earlier invalidated his caste certificate in January, a few weeks after he was elected as an MLA from ST-reserved seat.

The Gujarat High Court had quashed the order of the Tribal Development Commissioner and asked Khant to approach the committee once again with documents supporting his arguments, after he told the court that he was not given an opportunity to put forward his case before the panel.

“The MLA submitted 200-odd page documents in support of his argument. After going through these papers, we found that his caste certificate is not valid,” Makadia said.

Khant is once again likely to approach the high court as his election from Morva Hadaf might be disqualified by the Election Commission.

Khant, who was expecting a ticket from the Congress, had decided to contest as an independent as the Gujarat Congress gave that seat to Bharatiya Tribal Party under the seat-sharing agreement and did not field its own candidate.

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