STATE ELECTION Commissioner Aparmita Prasad Singh called on Governor TV Rajeswar on Thursday to apprise him of the recently concluded urban local bodies election.
Singh told HT all the misunderstanding between the Raj Bhawan and SEC were cleared after the talks. He said he conveyed to the governor that the State Election Commission (SEC) had already ordered an inquiry into large number of ballot papers being declared invalid in Lucknow. Inquiry had also been ordered into recovery of large number of stamped ballot papers in Moradabad. Initial inquiry indicated that duplicate ballot papers were stamped and strewn at various places, Singh said.
Rajeswar asked Singh several questions regarding the poll, including the pressure of the ruling party on the SEC and reports of Singh being offered the post of Director, Shahuji Research Institute, before the commencement of the civic poll.
Singh accepted that there was pressure of the ruling political party, not only on the SEC but also on the state bureaucracy. “For free and fair poll, the SEC should be vested with more power and should have complete control on the officers deputed on the poll duty,” Singh said.
He informed the Governor that on several occasion the state government took action on his complaints. “Several officers were shifted after the SEC raised doubts over their integrity,” he said.
Regarding the post offered to him by the state government, Singh said he informed Rajeswar that he had rejected the offer and told the state government about his decision on October 6 itself.
During an hour-long talk, the Governor told Singh that political parties had complaints about large-scale irregularities in the civic poll. To this, Singh said political parties were not aware of the ground realities. Voters rejected them and preferred the independent candidates in Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats, he added.
It may be recalled that the Raj Bhawan had to interfere in the poll process and direct the SEC to enforce the model code of conduct strictly and take action on the complaints lodged by the political parties.
Singh told the Governor that majority of the complaints sent by the Raj Bhawan were disposed of by the Election Commission.
He said, on the direction of the Raj Bhawan, the SEC had sent an officer to Hardoi to enquire into the complaints of rigging, though in their report the DM and the commissioner had ruled out any irregularity in the poll. He said Governor should have talked with him directly and cleared all the misunderstanding.
Singh said the governor also enquired why the State Election Commission changed its decision of re-poll at all the booths on which more than 85 percent votes were polled and why large number of votes were declared invalid. Singh said the decision was changed after the Commission found that large number of voters had in fact turned out to exercise their franchise in the local bodies election. Singh said he told the Governor that the Central Election Commission should appoint a Commissioner in UP to conduct the Vidhan Sabha polls. “It’s not possible to conduct peaceful and fair poll from Delhi,” he said.