'Large-scale proxy voting in Nagaland election'
Political parties in Nagaland have claimed that large-scale irregularities took place during Wednesday's assembly election in the state which registered a turnout of 85 per cent.
Complaints of proxy voting from different parts of the state were pouring into offices of returning officers (RO) and mediahouses with political contenders and their agents demanding re-polling in certain stations.
Admitting that there were many complaints about such malpractices, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) CJ Ponraj told newsmen today that the authorities were verifying such complaints.
Proxy and under-aged voting in urban and semi-urban polling stations was rampant in in Kohima and Dimapur districts, the complainants alleged.
At some places election agents of contending parties were seen openly keeping liquids to erase the indelible ink marks from fingers of young voters before the very nose of security personnel, they added.
Ponraj said that the first time experiment of entrusting village council authorities had paid dividends, particularly in Mokokchung district, as villagers could cast their own votes.
The traditional practice of village council members casting ballots for the entire village drastically came down this time, election department officials claimed.
The Commission constituted a booth level assistance committee, comprising village council office bearers and village chiefs, to assist presiding officers to verify the bonafides of a voter.
When a group of newsmen visited certain polling stations in and around the capital town on Wednesday, minors were seen in queue outside booths.
Some even boasted of having cast votes three to four times in the name of elders who did not turn up because of the chilly weather.
Removal of the indelible ink mark was not a problem.
"Nail polish eraser is the answer," a minor girl told PTI.
As per preliminary reports available with CEO, Kohima district, comprising seven assembly segments, recorded the lowest turnout of voters at 77 per cent, while Peren district registered the highest at 95 per cent.
The polling percentage in other districts were Dimapur - 80 per cent, Pughoboto - 90, Phek - 80, Mokokchung - 80, Mon-80, Wokha-80, Longleng - 80, Tuensang - 92 and Kiphire - 85 per cent.
The CEO said there might be slight change in the preliminary estimated figure of 85 per cent turnout after receiving detailed reports from remote places.
Ponraj said one polling station under Tuensang Sadar seat recorded 99 per cent turnout.
All the polling parties returned to their respective district headquarters on Thursday morning.
Counting would be held simultaneously for all the 60 assembly constituencies in 12 places in the state on March 8, officials said.
The commission has already decided to hold re-poll at 23 polling stations spreading over Wokha, Zunheboto and Tuensang districts on Friday.