As the state of Nagaland concluded polling for elections to the 14th Legislative Assembly on Monday, the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee has said that it has also been a day filled with “iniquitous incidents in the teeth of democracy.”
A press release from Congress State In Charge, Dr Ajoy Kumar and Chairperson NPCC Communications Committee, Wezote Kreo said that the “Representation of People’s Act has yet again been mocked at yet again though a rife movement against unethical practices and for free and fair elections has been prevalent across civil societies in Nagaland including Nagaland Baptist Church Council.”
“The spate of poll related violence in various pockets across the state is a matter of deep concern. Exercising one’s adult suffrage is an opportunity that comes once in 5 years’ time. Every citizen who is qualified to vote should be given equal opportunity to cast their vote,” the Congress stated.
The Congress said that propagating and supporting a candidate or party is also the individual choice of the voter and thus they should not be pressurized, forced or coerced to cast otherwise. It is for this reason that the clean election movement on many fronts was initiated with the objective to facilitate free and fair election, the Congress said.
“Despite the launch of and plea for Clean Elections as a widespread movement and the Congress’s explicit support for the same, the state has failed as many polling stations have witnessed unbecoming tactics employed to prevent the citizens from casting their votes or to manipulate their vote,” the Congress party lamented.
Citing a letter from a village council “in which the power vested in the adult franchise by virtue of the Indian Constitution has been insulted,” as well as video evidence of booth capture in Ungma village and in Tizit AC, ‘proxy voting’ and interference by village councils, the Congress party asked the Election Commission of India to take cognizance of and remedy “such gross misconduct on priority.”
Congress petitions ECI for re-poll in Aonglenden and Tizit
Congress on Monday petitioned the Election Commission of India seeking re-poll in 26 Aonglenden and 41 Tizit assembly constituencies citing alleged booth capturing and tampering of EVMs.
In a letter to the Election Commission of India, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Nagaland, Ajoy Kumar citing media reports sought directions from the EC to order re-polling in the booths where incidents of booth capturing has been reported and strict action against individuals tampering with post-polled EVMs.
“The issue relates to polling booths being captured by certain individuals; polling agents being forced to vacate their station; and voters being blocked from casting their votes in the respective polling booths in (a) 26 Assembly Constituency- Aolengden and post poll EVMS being tampered in (b) 41 Assembly Constituency – Tizit, during the ongoing day of polling of the Legislative Assembly Elections in Nagaland,” Kumar said in the letter.
He claimed that voters in 6 out of the 17 polling booths in Aonglenden AC [Polling Station No. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7] could not properly vote for their respective political parties and in certain instances were not even allowed to enter the booths and that even polling agents were forced to vacate their respective stations.
Citing ground reports and videos shared on social media, he said, “in polling booth no. 1, 2, 3 (Ungma village, Aonglenden AC), the NDPP candidate prevented the voters from voting (and) did not even allow them to enter the booth. In fact, as per videos on social media, even the Ungma’s village council member was attacking and threatening voters.”
In 41 Tizit AC, Kumar stated that Congress voters were not allowed to enter the polling booths. He said that the Congress candidate had filed a complaint with the returning officer but no action or investigation was initiated.
Kumar also submitted a video to the EC of some individuals tampering with post-polled EVM in Jakoba village, Tizit.
Kumar urged the Commission to “immediately take note of this and issue urgent and immediate directions against the individuals and party workers capturing polling booths in the above-mentioned assembly constituency; and consequently directing re-polling in the booths where incidents of booth capturing has been reported, i.e., Aolengden AC [Polling Station No. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7] and Tizit AC [Nokyan Village, Nangtan Village, Jakoba Village]”