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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

Citing violence, BJP demands spl observers in key states for vote count

An Opposition delegation, including Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, K Raju and Rajeev Shukla, TDP leaders K Rama Mohana Rao and CM Ramesh, and AAP’s Sanjay Singh, also met the ECI on Thursday.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 17, 2019 10:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
A day after campaigning in West Bengal was cut short by 19 hours following violence during a roadshow by BJP president Amit Shah in Kolkata on Tuesday, the BJP submitted before the ECI,
A day after campaigning in West Bengal was cut short by 19 hours following violence during a roadshow by BJP president Amit Shah in Kolkata on Tuesday, the BJP submitted before the ECI, (Reuters FILE)
         

The BJP on Thursday asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to appoint special counting observers for deployment in West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

A day after campaigning in West Bengal was cut short by 19 hours following violence during a roadshow by BJP president Amit Shah in Kolkata on Tuesday, the BJP submitted before the ECI, “The increasing instances of poll violence, including pelting of stones and others, make the situation delicate. The primary concern shall be protection and security of the strong rooms. Hence, appointment of a special counting observer is indispensable.”

The party also urged the poll watchdog to ask its observers to take charge of non-statutory poll functions like permissions, deployment of forces and maintaining law and order in West Bengal. It said that ahead of the final phase of polling on May 19, criminals and history-sheeters should be either held in preventive detention or moved out of the state to ensure free and fair polls.

Meanwhile, an Opposition delegation, including Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Telugu Desam Party leaders K Rama Mohana Rao and Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh, among others also met the ECI on Thursday, and reiterated their demand for EC guidelines following the Supreme Court’s directive for a five-fold increase in sample check of the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT).

The Opposition delegation’s submission to the EC stated: “First issue we raised was about West Bengal. The election commission, without any quasi-judicial process, took the decision to increase the silence period by 24 hours. Not just ours, many non-National Democratic Alliance parties have the same allegation that BJP is solely responsible for the violence during the rally in West Bengal. If evidence shows that BJP was behind the violence, then why should the others suffer? We have not received a satisfactory response from the election commission and we reserve the right to all remedies, including going to court,” Singhvi said.

The BJP said special counting observers were needed in Odisha was due to possible violence. “Apart from general elections, there was state election also in Odisha. So, there will be a lot of people in the places of counting and there are chances that there will be violence during the counting process,” it said.