13 July, Mumbai
The Maharashtra Election Commission on Wednesday has deregistered 191 political parties including the Hyderabad-based All India Majlise-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and barred them from contesting the ensuing local body elections in the state — for failing to file income tax returns and audited accounts.
Imtiaz Jaleel, the AIMIM leader in the Maharashtra state assembly, said the party would appeal against its cancellation.
The MLA from Aurangabad said the party had received a notice from the state election commission about four months back as to why the party’s registration should not be cancelled for not submitting some mandatory documents.
“Accordingly our team from Hyderabad had visited the state election commission office in Mumbai and had completed all the formalities as required including submission of IT returns of the party,” he said in a statement.
“AIMIM respects the independent nature of the Election Commission and fully honours their decision to bring transparency in the election process,” he said.
Jaleel said the upcoming local body elections were very crucial for the party and it will contest the polls with full force.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said the party would appeal against to the poll panel. He admitted that there have been some lapses on part of the organisation.
The Hyderabad MP said they will abide by the norms in future.
The Hyderabad-headquartered party won two assembly seats in Maharashtra in the elections held in 2014.
Maharashtra State Election Commissioner J.S. Saharia said that the registrations have been cancelled as these parties failed to provide their income details and annual Income Tax Returns and audit reports as required under the law.
The move would ensure a level playing field for all parties, free and fair elections and prevent misuse of money-power during the polls, Saharia pointed out.
At present, Maharashtra has 17 recognised parties and a whopping 342 others which are unrecognised.
Among the unrecognised parties, the SEC had sent notice to 326 parties to comply with the statutory requirements, but many failed to respond, including the high-profile AIMIM with two elected legislators and several at lower levels like municipal corporators, councillors and other bodies.
Finally, it was decided to strike down the registrations of 191 such parties, Saharia added.
Besides the AIMIM and Loksatta Party from Hyderabad, four parties of other Indian states have also lost their registrations. They are: Socialist Party (India) and Peace Party (Uttar Pradesh), RPI (Khobragade) and Gondwana Republic Party (Chhattisgarh).