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Counting on Monday

Ranchi, March 30: Counting of votes in the Palamau bypoll will now be taken up a day later on Monday, following the Election Commissionís decision to order repoll at four booths in Ranka (Garhwa) on Sunday.

Chief electoral officer Debashish Gupta said the repoll had been ordered after receiving complaints of several irregularities.

The repoll, however, has nothing to do, he asserted, with the controversy over unsealed electronic voting machines. Some of the political parties had lodged complaints that the bags carrying the EVMs were not sealed. But inquiry, Gupta informed, revealed that all the three statutory seals were intact on the EVMs. It was not, however, mandatory to put the seal on the carry-bags, he said.

Meanwhile in a post-poll fracas, BJP and the RJD roped in Dalits to lodge FIRs against each other in Garhwa.

RJD worker Surendra Ram charged around 24 BJP workers, including former chief minister Arjun Munda, ex-MP Ravindra Pandey and BJP nominee Jawahar Paswan with attempt to murder and setting the bike of one Ajay Kesri on fire. BJP cadre Pradeep Paswan, on the other hand, levelled similar charges against RJD MLA Girinath Singh, party nominee Ghuran Ram and others. Paswan, in addition, accused them of hurling abuses on him by addressing as harijan, leading the police to book them under the Prevention of Scheduled Caste Atrocities Act.

BJP state president P.N. Singh described the FIR against Arjun Munda as an act of vengeance by the DC Amitabh Kaushal and SP Md Nehal. Munda, during his tenure had initiated disciplinary proceddings against both the officers, he claimed.

While accusing the RJD of misusing government machinery and the JVM of spending unaccounted money in the campaign, the BJP president claimed that the Garhwa SDO in his report had mentioned about 20 unsealed EVMs brought to the Garhwa town hall and the Ranka block office.

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