The Congress on Tuesday accused the ruling SAD-BJP alliance of rigging the counting of votes, saying the ballot papers had been replaced on the night before the counting day.
To drive home the point, MLAs Lal Singh and Brahm Mohindra showed some ballot papers and ballot boxes with broken seals lying outside a room at a counting centre at Government Polytechnic, Urban Estate.
"How come these ballot papers were lying in the open, when every single ballot paper is accounted for and ballot boxes are sealed? From where did these broken seals come outside the counting centre?" wondered the Congress leaders, showing the ballot papers and broken seals. They alleged that the SAD in league with the administrative officials changed the ballot papers in ballot boxes of such polling stations where Congressmen were strong.
"First, the SAD-BJP did rigging and booth-capturing on the day of polling. Then, they replaced the ballot papers a night before the counting. These results are engineered and not the people's voice," alleged PPCC vice-president Lal Singh, adding that the Congress would approach the court.
Mohindra said he apprehended rigging in counting also and had issued a press release on this on the day of polling.
In a separate press conference, Rajpura Congress MLA Hardial Kamboj said the SAD-BJP leaders forced the counting staff to recount the votes when Devi Bai of the Congress won the Khera Gajju zila parishad seat by a margin of 224 votes. "Now after changing the votes, they are asking us for recounting. It's a murder of democracy," he said.
However, the district administration denied the charges, saying every ballot box had been opened in the presence of the Congress and SAD candidates or their agents. Deputy commissioner GK Singh said, "We have videographed the entire process of counting -- opening of ballot boxes, mixing of votes and making bundles to count the votes. These are baseless charges."