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Rigging grouse reaches Delhi

Congress leader K.V. Pusa and Nagaland PCC president S.I. Jamir in Kohima on Wednesday. Telegraph picture

Kohima, April 23: The Congress will submit all documentary evidences to the Election Commission of malpractices, which allegedly took place in Nagaland during the Lok Sabha polls on April 9.

Before leaving for New Delhi, K.V. Pusa, the Congress candidate from Nagaland Lok Sabha seat, today urged the poll panel to take the matter seriously as it would affect the future of the state and the democratic process. He said the NPF had used the government machinery to win the election suppressing the right to franchise of the people.

The party has already submitted documentary evidence and a complaint letter to the Nagaland chief electoral officer and the returning officer. We will now submit the documentary evidences of videography, photographs and newspaper clips, among others, to the commission and request re-polling in multiple places or countermand the election, Pusa added.

Over 60 polling stations recorded over 100 per cent voting, while many others recorded more than 90 per cent, which the Congress said was because of proxy voting and rigging by supporters of the Naga People’s Front (NPF).

Pusa said the state’s record 88.57 per cent turnout was owing to large-scale rigging and proxy voting.

S.I. Jamir, president of the Nagaland Congress, said the manner in which elections were conducted was unprecedented and totally undemocratic.

“Whether the Election Commission accepts our evidence or not, we are going to take up the issue for our future generation and the democratic process,” he said.

Jamir took a dig at village councils which cast vote for the entire populace of villages and said such practices were absolutely against the democratic process.

“Our village councils are acting beyond their authority,” he added.

The Congress leader said since 2003, undemocratic activities are taking place in the state, in an indirect reference to the chief minister Neiphiu Rio storming to power allegedly with the help of militants and massive election rigging. The party has been accusing Rio, the NPF candidate, of indulging in anti-social activities and undemocratic processes to cling to power.

Pusa questioned the role of polling officials who allowed proxy voting and rigging. “Proxy voting took place in almost all booths,” he claimed. He said officers are sent to oversee the polls and report anomalies in all states but they did not do so in Nagaland. “Officers who could not perform their duties should be taken to task,” he said.

The Congress candidate urged the commission to take suo moto action on all officials at booths, which polled over 90 per cent and above to deter such malpractices.

“I was of the notion that the people are wise enough to seek someone to build a kingdom rather than subject themselves to an absolute king,” Pusa said, in apparent reference to the reign of Rio.

He said Naga villages were traditionally close to a system where individual freedom was cherished rather than despotism.

“However, it is unfortunate the people failed to turn out to vote and taking advantage of the lacunae, the polling booths were taken over by a handful of stooges working for the ruling party,” he said.

Pusa said it resulted in an abnormal voting percentage, which far exceeded the actual turnout and action should be taken against officials who did not stop proxy voting.

He said the road to development and progress can never come from forced suppression of voices of the minority.

Pusa, Jamir and other senior members of the Nagaland Congress will meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi and brief her how the party had faced an abnormal polling condition in the state.