?Chapra rigging charges serious?

Published on May 04, 2004 05:23 AM IST

The two-member Election Commission team probing allegations of rigging in Bihar's Chapra parliamentary constituency, said on Monday they had come across allegations of violence, booth capturing and collusion of district administration officials and poll personnel.

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PTI | ByHT Correspondents, Chapra/new Delhi

The two-member Election Commission team probing allegations of rigging in Bihar's Chapra parliamentary constituency, said on Monday they had come across allegations of violence, booth capturing and collusion of district administration officials and poll personnel.

EC special advisor K.J. Rao, a member of the team, told reporters they had come across the allegations when they interacted with candidates, representatives of political parties, poll personnel and common voters over the last two days.

"We are satisfied with our inquiry. But we cannot disclose the content of our report," Rao and the principal secretary to the commission, Ananth Kumar, said.

Asked whether the EC would take a tough decision like countermanding the poll in the entire constituency or it would order repolling in some booths, Rao said the commission had always been tough in matters relating to polls.

The team returned to Delhi in the evening. EC officials, who had earlier indicated that the team would submit its report by Tuesday, later said the inquiry team was yet to prepare its report. It is likely to take at least "two to three days", commission sources said.

The EC team interacted with more people on Monday. A women's delegation led by RJD leader and chairperson of the Chapra municipality, Niloo Kumari, told the team that they were manhandled by BJP supporters during the polls.

They also appealed to the EC not to countermand the election while claiming that the polls in Chapra were "peaceful, free and fair." However, when one of the team members asked them to show the voting mark on their fingers, they did not have it.

At Ishopur village under Sonepur assembly segment, one Dharmendra Kumar Singh, whose hand was in a plaster cast, said RJD workers had attacked him on polling day.

Others had similar stories too. At Dighwara, one Rajan Rajesh said he could not cast his vote as RJD workers did not allow him.

The EC team also visited Busand Khoripakar and Jalalbasti villages where the presiding officer (PO) was injured during polling. People present there alleged that the PO was attacked by RJD workers.

Laloo Prasad Yadav's side of the story was voiced by Pradeep Yadav. He told the EC team that when BJP candidate Rajiv Pratap Rudy realised that his defeat was certain, he demanded countermanding of the polls.

Probing problem

* Team has come across allegations of violence, booth capturing and collusion between administration officials and poll personnel

* Visits Busand Khoripakar and Jalalbasti villages where the presiding officer was injured reportedly by RJD workers

* Meets a women's delegation led by RJD leader Niloo Kumari. They said they were manhandled by BJP supporters during polling. But the women fail to convince the probing team

* Meets an injured voter, Dharmendra Kumar Singh, whose said RJD workers attacked him

* Is likely to take at least "two to three days" for submitting its report to the CEC.

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