High drama prevailed at Prem Nagar in Mandi Gobindgarh when residents boycotted voting because of change of a polling station from Government Elementary School ,Prem Nagar, to Government Elementary School, Tarlokpuri in Ajnali village, which is 5.5 km away from Prem Nagar.
Though polling resumed at 11 am when officials pacified the residents, assuring them of making polling station at Prem Nagar in future.
One of the senior officers said that it was a violation of the model code of conduct as the Election Commission of India had notified that the polling station could not be changed by the local administration at the eleventh hour.
However, the assitant returning officer(AEO), Rajdeep Kaur denied changing the polling station, stating that people had been casting their votes in Tarlokpuri for the last eight years. She also added that nobody had given any written complaint to her.
Former president of municipal council Jagdeep Bawa claimed that the voting was resumed when the ARO and other official told them that they would make the school at Prem Nagar as a polling station in future.
Similarly, Congress nominee Sadhu Singh Dharamsot also said that he got the information and he told his supporters to go and take a stock of situation and they lodged a complaint with officers.
However, the school at Prem Nagar was mentioned as the polling station even on the documents issued to the polling agents of all the political parties but it was changed at the last minute.
The polling agents too claimed that the official did not give them any reason why the polling station had been changed from Prem Nagar to Tarlok puri.
Rajesh Kumar, a polling agent of the Congress, said that they had protested over the issue in the morning but official could not give the reason behind the change.
While showing documents issued to the polling agents in which Government Elementary School, Prem
Nagar, was mentioned as a polling station, he said that voters made a beeline in front of the school at Prem Nagar and they got to know very late that the polling station had been changed.
Similarly, polling agent of the Aam Adami party( AAP) Prithivi Singh also criticized the local administration for changing the polling station. He said that they had hired some taxis to take the voters there so that they could cast their votes.
Singh also said that Prem Nagar had 759 votes and they took all voters by the taxi and autorickshaw.
Though the local administration kept on denying the change in the polling station, Jaspreet Singh, presiding officer, also said that voters had boycotted as there was some confusion at the initial stage about the polling station but later on polling was resumed after intervention of senior officer.
While talking to HT, the district returning officer, Arun Sekhri, said that he did not get any complaint from any political party or from resident.