A candidate who contested the Mumbai North-West seat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election has moved the Bombay High Court seeking it to declare the results from the constituency as null and void, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday.

The candidate, Bharat Shah of the Hindu Samaj Party, has alleged malpractices in the counting of votes. He has sought direction to the Election Commission to investigate the alleged irregularities.

Ravindra Waikar from Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena won the Mumbai North-West seat by defeating Amol Kirtikar of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) on June 4. This was the closest contest in the general election.

However, after the results, Kirtikar as well as other candidates from the seat alleged irregularities in the counting process.

A newspaper report claimed that the brother-in-law of Waikar, Mangesh Pandilkar, had taken a phone to the vote counting centre on June 4 that was “used for generating the OTP [one-time password] that unlocked the EVM [Electronic Voting Machine] machine”.

On June 12, the Mumbai Police filed a case against Pandilkar for allegedly taking a phone to a counting centre. However, the returning officer of the Mumbai North-West Lok Sabha constituency on June 16 said that no one-time password was needed to unlock an Electronic Voting Machine.

In his petition on Friday, Shah claimed that Kirtikar was initially in the lead during the counting of votes on June 4. However, Waikar later emerged victorious by just 48 votes, he said.

Shah alleged that the Electronic Voting Machines in the constituency were utilised for “unfair practices and selective misuse”, the Hindustan Times reported.

Individuals linked to Waikar, including his daughter Prajakta Waikar-Mahale and Pandilkar, were allegedly using mobile phones in the counting area, which was in direct violation of electoral rules and a potential threat to the integrity of Electronic Voting Machines, the petition noted.

Earlier this week, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Aaditya Thackeray also said that his party would move the Bombay High Court against the results from the Mumbai North-West seat, The Hindu reported.

He claimed that Kirtikar’s victory was undermined by the “misuse” of official machinery and said that the result was fraudulent. He added that the Election Commission was “entirely compromised”.

Party leader Sanjay Raut also said that Waikar should be restrained from taking oath as a member of the Lok Sabha amid the controversy over the results.

On the day of the results, while initially it appeared that Kirtikar had won, Waikar demanded the recounting of votes as the margin of victory was small. After re-counting the votes polled with the Electronic Voting Machines, it was found that Kirtikar had one more vote as compared to Waikar. However, re-checking the postal ballots placed Waikar ahead by 48 votes.

Waikar was eventually declared the winner.