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Election Commission deregisters BJP alliance partner Ramdas Athawale’s RPI

The Maharashtra Election Commission (SEC) on Tuesday deregistered 16 state-level political parties in Maharashtra, including the Ramdas Athawale-led RPI faction, for alleged failure to submit income tax returns and audited accounts between 2005 and 2014.

RPI (A) chief Ramdas Athawale

Despite sending reminders to them and extending the deadline on request of some of the political parties, these 16 parties allegedly failed to submit any documents, leading to their deregistration, SEC said in a statement in Mumbai.

Besides RPI (Athawale), whose chief Ramdas Athawale is a Rajya Sabha member and an ally of ruling BJP, the other deregistered parties include Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetty’s Swabhimani Paksha, MLC Kapil Patil’s Lokbharti, Peasants and Workers Party of India and Shivrajya Paksha.

The move, which comes weeks before the November 1 polls to civic bodies of Kolhapur and Kalyan Dombivli, means these parties will not have any reserved symbols. Also, their names will not appear against those of candidates on the ballot papers.

Parties are required to submit their I-T returns and audited accounts as per Section 3 (10)(c) of the Political Parties Registration Act, 2009.

SEC initially sent notices to 19 parties in June this year. The notices sent to offices of six of them came back to the poll panel as no one received them. Four others requested SEC to extend the deadline which was stretched till August.

Of the 19 parties, three managed to submit 50% of the documents required, thereby escaping deregistration. The remaining 16 did not submit even 50% of the documents, the statement said.

The list of political parties who failed to submit the papers despite extension of the deadline included Republican Party of India (Democratic) and RPI (Athawale).