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Cong takes proxy-voting grouse to EC

- Party asks panel to conduct repolling in over 1000 polling stations in Nagaland

Kohima, April 25: Congress leaders met chief election commissioner Veeravalli Sundaram Sampath last evening and submitted a complaint alleging largescale proxy voting and poll rigging by the supporters of the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) during the April 9 Lok Sabha polls in Nagaland.

Congress candidate for the state’s lone Lok Sabha seat, K.V. Pusa, and other senior party members substantiated their complaint with videos, photographs, newspaper clippings and other evidences and asked the commission to either nullify the April 9 polls or conduct repolling in over 1,000 polling stations in the state.

In more than 60 polling stations, over 100 per cent voting was recorded and many booths saw more than 90 per cent polling. The Congress alleged that the high turnout was the result of proxy voting by supporters of chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who is the NPF candidate.

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

“The Election Commission has taken serious note of the irregularities carried out during the April 9 polls,” Pusa said and expressed hope that it would initiate appropriate action.

Some leaders are in New Delhi to brief party president Sonia Gandhi about the situation.The Congress claimed that no sensible person would believe the NPF’s claims that elections were held peacefully under strict observation of the Election Commission and mass participation of the people. “How long can the NPF keep up the Dr Jykell and Mr Hyde act? The truth will soon come out,” a Congress leader said.

Poll code relaxed

The Election Commission has relaxed the model code of conduct in the state. Election Commission under-secretary Krishna Kumar — in a letter dated April 14 and addressed to the chief electoral officer of Nagaland — said the commission had decided to allow a few activities in Nagaland. They include tour of ministers to districts accompanied by officers, review and implementation of ongoing programmes in the field, review with field officers — except for the officers who are on election duty, holding review meetings of officers, except for the officers who are on election duty, and tour of ministers outside the state or country.

The election department forwarded the directive to all administrative officers, political parties and contesting candidates for necessary action.

The only booth where polls could not be held on April 9 was Ladigarh polling station number 1 under 40-Tamlu Assembly constituency, Longleng district, where Assam police restricted the entry of polling officials into the village because of the border dispute between the two states.