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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Mismanagement, lax policing mar polling in Mewat

Amid heavy influx of voters during morning hours, the constable at a polling booth in Ferozepur Namak failed to control those flouting rules.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 13, 2019 04:02 IST
Team HT
Team HT
The micro-observer said the polling officers were hesitant to touch the women’s fingers. He refused to comment on why the men in the area had also been inked in a similar manner.
The micro-observer said the polling officers were hesitant to touch the women’s fingers. He refused to comment on why the men in the area had also been inked in a similar manner.(HT Photo)
         

Voting in the three assembly constituencies of Mewat was marred by incidents of violence and mismanagement. The sensitive polling booths across Nuh, Punhana and Ferozepur Jhirka had tense moments as the situation spiralled out of hand due to lax policing and mismanagement at multiple levels, residents said.

Amid heavy influx of voters during morning hours, the constable at a polling booth in Ferozepur Namak failed to control those flouting rules. People barged inside the polling room from the exit door and directly went for verification, ignoring voters who had been standing in the serpentine queues.

At the same booth, instead of applying the indelible ink vertically on the left-hand index finger, it was put horizontally on the skin, leaving a portion of the nail uncovered.

The micro-observer said the polling officers were hesitant to touch the women’s fingers. He refused to comment on why the men in the area had also been inked in a similar manner. “The polling officer is a little hesitant to touch women’s fingers,” Fatehpur Namak micro-observer Om Prakash said. He, however, refused to comment on why ink had been applied on men’s fingers in a similar manner.

In the Nuh town polling booth, apart from polling agents, members of political parties were seen sitting inside the booth, and the electronic voting machines (EVM) and the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines were placed in such a way that those outside the booth could see for whom the votes were being cast.

People who seemed unsure of how to cast their votes using EVMs, their votes were cast by those standing near EVMs. A similar situation was seen in other polling booths as well.

The situation was also grim in Luhinga Kalan in Punhana around Sunday afternoon. Voters alleged that polling officials were not letting people vote.

Jaabid, a resident, said that polling officials had mistakenly applied the indelible ink on his finger when he had simply accompanied his mother for voting. “My mother is blind. I came along with her to assist her, but the polling official put the ink on my finger. He didn’t allow me to vote again,” Jaabid said.

The presiding officer, however, said polling agents were being threatened by voters. “People are threatening us. Non-voters are gathering here and creating a crowd. The security provided by the police is also lax,” assistant presiding officer on duty Tejpal Yadav said.

Four people were assaulted in Nuh at different locations, including the presiding officer of Neemka village, police said. “There was a clash between election officials and villagers over the identity of voters in Neemka and Chandaka villages in Nuh district. We have not received any complaint from the victims. A case would be registered once the complaints are lodged with the respective police stations,” Nuh superintendent of police Sangeeta Kalia said.

The police said the locals thrashed election officials when they demanded their identification documents. The crowd allegedly got agitated and manhandled the officials.

“Incidents like these (men assisting women in voting) often happens in village areas. Men try and assist the women in voting since the women are clueless about the procedure. As far as other glitches are concerned, sometimes mismanagement can happen due to the influx of people at once. It becomes difficult for the presiding officer to handle the crowds,” said Mewat district public relations officer Suresh Gupta.

He said complaints will be assessed based on reports filed by the different block-level officers.

First Published: May 13, 2019 04:02 IST

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