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Arunachal repoll postponed

Itanagar, May 14: Repolling at Richik and Chulla stations in the remote Kurung Kumey district of Arunachal Pradesh could not take place today because polling officials were unable to reach their destinations.

Deputy chief electoral officer D.J. Bhattacharjee today said polling officials and security personnel were trekking on foot and are most likely to reach the polling stations by tomorrow. The officials could not travel by helicopters owing to “inclement weather”. Surface communication links to various parts of the state have been severely hit following a week of heavy showers.

The state chief electoral officer C.B. Kumar said officials have been “authorised to hold the repoll tomorrow”.

The Election Commission had earlier received complaints that election officials and Congress workers indulged in several malpractices during the April 9 elections and subsequent repoll on April 19.

The Election Commission on Sunday had ordered fresh polls for Richik in Tali Assembly constituency and Chulla in Koloriang Assembly constituency for May 14 after receiving complaints of rigging in the April 9 election and April 19 repolls that was held across 33 polling stations in the state.

Earlier on May 9, violent clashes had broken out in Itanagar outside the Nirvachan Bhavan over repoll demands. Disagreeing with the commission’s decision, the Congress candidate from Koloriang constituency, Lokam Tassar, wrote to the state chief electoral officer, C.B. Kumar, calling it an “arbitrary violation of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951”.

The NCP candidate from Tali constituency, Thaji Gichak Kiogi, on the other hand, has demanded that besides Richik, repoll be held in Ruhi, Giba and Ha polling stations as well.

There are 272 registered voters for Chulla polling stations while Richik station in Tali has 645 voters in total. Located more than 350km from the capital Itanagar, Tali is the only constituency in the state not connected by proper roads.

The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly in 2006 had declared Kurung Kumey district as one of the backward districts of the state “keeping in view its poor socio-economic conditions”.

Exit polls: Reacting to various exit polls predicting a BJP victory in Arunachal Pradesh, state chief electoral officer C.B. Kumar said “repolls are being held across the country and the Election Commission is taking note of them”.


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