Multiple untoward incidents lead to nullification of votes
GUWAHATI, April 10: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday ordered re-polling at four polling stations in Ratabari, Sonai and Haflong assembly constituencies of Assam on April 20.
All the three constituencies went to polls in the second phase of Assam assembly elections on April 1.
In a letter written to the Assam Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), the poll panel declared void, the votes cast at these stations during the second phase of state elections on April 1, under sub-section (2) (a) of Section 58 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The Commission further stated that polling shall be held from 7 am to 6 pm on April 20.
“On the basis of reports submitted, and after taking all material circumstances into account, the Commission hereby declares under Sub-Section (2) (a) of Section 58 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 that the poll taken on April 1, 2021 (Thursday) at four polling stations mentioned below against the Assembly Constituency to be void and appoints April 20, 2021 (Tuesday) as the date and fixes the hours from 7 am to 6 pm for taking a fresh poll at the said polling stations in accordance with the Commission’s instructions contained in Chapter XIII of Hand Book for Returning Officers, 2019,” the EC letter to the CEO stated.
The letter also directed the CEO to ensure that wide publicity of fresh polls is to be done in the polling areas of these polling stations and political parties, with contesting candidates being informed in writing.
This comes after a video surfaced on social media purportedly of EVMs being found in a BJP candidate’s car in Patharkandi constituency following the second round of polling on April 1.
In an auxiliary polling station at 107(A)-Khothlir LP School under Haflong assembly constituency, 171 votes were cast even though 90 people were eligible to exercise their franchise.
The presiding and first polling officer in their statements had admitted that they had allowed the voters registered at the main polling station at 107-Mouldam LP School, to cast their votes at the auxiliary polling station.
The ECI order said that repolling will be conducted at Ratabari (SC) contituency’s polling station number 149 at Indira MV School, after an electronic voting machine (EVM) was found in a car belonging to the wife of a BJP candidate.
A magisterial probe was ordered by Karimganj district deputy commissioner and returning officer to enquire as to why a polling team in Assam carried a polled EVM in a vehicle owned by the wife of BJP candidate and sitting MLA, Krishnendu Paul.
Re-polling has also been ordered in the Sonai constituency 463- Madhya Dhanehori LP School polling booth where at least three persons were injured in an incident of firing, following which the state’s deputy speaker and BJP candidate Aminul Haque Laskar was questioned by the police and five police personnel attached to him were suspended.