Assembly bypolls: Villagers pelt stones in MP’s Ater after charges of booth capturing
The incident took place at Sankri polling booth where Katare reached to check on reports of booth capturing by BJP candidate Arvind Bhadoria’s followers. An additional police force was rushed to the area to control the situation.india Updated: Apr 19, 2017 22:10 IST
Villagers allegedly pelted stones at the car of the Congress candidate and police vehicles in Madhya Pradesh’s Ater during an assembly bypoll on Sunday.
Six vehicles – including that of Congress’ Hemant Katare and two police cars -- were damaged, source said.
The incident took place at Sankri polling booth where Katare reached to check on reports of booth capturing by BJP candidate Arvind Bhadoria’s followers. An additional police force was rushed to the area to control the situation.
Polling is being held in Ater in Bhind district and Bandhavgarh (ST) seats due to a bypoll that grabbed headlines following reports that a malfunctioning electronic voting machine had apparently switched votes to the BJP. This is the first time a paper trail for the EVM – known as Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail or VVPAT – is being used in the state.
Katare alleged there was an attempt on his life when he tried to prevent booth capturing. However, the spokesperson of chief electoral officer’s office, Pralay Shrivastava told media persons in Bhopal that there was no attempt of booth capturing. State Congress president Arun Yadav alleged massive rigging.
More than 400,000 voters in these two constituencies are expected to exercise their franchise at more than 550 polling stations, mostly in rural areas. Arvind Bhadoria from BJP and Hemant Katare from Congress are the main contenders in Ater while BJP candidate Shivnarayan Singh and the Congress candidate Savitri Singh have locked horns in Bandhavgarh.
Leader Opposition in state assembly Satyadev Katare who represented Ater seat died of cancer last year whereas Gyan Singh -- who was a minister in Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet and represented Bandhavgarh -- was elected to Lok Sabha in a by-poll to Shahdol seat.
The bypolls in Madhya Pradesh were already marked by controversy after the Congress alleged earlier this month that the BJP’s lotus symbol was printed multiple times through paper audit at a media demonstration.
The Election Commission didn’t find any anomaly or tampering with the EVM during the demonstration. However, the EC shifted the collector Ilayaraja T on the ground that he failed to clear the pre-loaded data in the EVM before the demonstration. The superintendent of police Anil Kushwaha was also shifted. The row erupted after a purported video of an EVM trial showed the paper trail attached to it generating a receipt for the BJP when state chief electoral officer Saleena Singh pressed the button for the Samajwadi Party candidate.