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Lyngdoh junks BJP?s charge of bias

Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh on Thursday dismissed allegations by Gujarat BJP that the poll panel had been "biased" in conducting the polls.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2002 01:10 IST

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) JM Lyngdoh on Thursday dismissed allegations by the Gujarat BJP that the poll panel had been "biased" in conducting elections to the assembly.

BJP leaders had complained daylong that names of electors were missing from voters' lists of several constituencies across the state. These included Maninagar, the seat for which Chief Minister Narendra Modi is a candidate.

VHP leader Praveen Togadia claimed his name was missing from the voters' lists of Ahmedabad's Sarkhej constituency, and alleged the CEC had conspired to prevent him from casting his vote.

To the allegations, Lyngdoh said on Star News: "It is their (the BJP's) point of view. I am not interested." On the BJP's apparent attaching of motives to the missing names, Lyngdoh said: "It is their own government employees who have conducted the elections."

On Togadia's allegation that his name was missing, an EC official told the Hindustan Times the poll panel had checked the electoral rolls, and found that the VHP leader's name was, in fact, on the list.

Earlier, Deputy Election Commissioner A.N. Jha had told a news conference that elaborate arrangements had been made to update the electoral list and adequate opportunity had been given to voters to get their names included. Despite this, if some people found their names missing, "at the best we can say it was unfortunate".

Jha said that the allegations notwithstanding, the EC had not received any formal complaint from either Togadia or any political party.

The strongest protests against the alleged exclusion of names from the voters' lists were seen at Maninagar.

Angry BJP workers blocked traffic at several places in Ahmedabad. Police carried out a mild lathicharge at the state BJP office to scatter protesters. Modi addressed a 5,000-strong group and advised them to send their complaints directly to the CEC.

In the afternoon, Maninagar returning officer A.V. Jhala had said special helpdesks had been opened for those whose names were missing from voters' lists.

Reports from Anjar said more than 5,000 names, many of them victims of the January 2001 earthquake, were missing from the electoral rolls. The BJP has denied the party ticket to its sitting MLA for fear of a backlash against the tardy quake relief work.

First Published: Dec 13, 2002 01:10 IST