Agent caught ‘influencing’ voters, EC orders repoll at Asaoti booth

Repolling on May 19; another video of ‘influencer’ at a Faridabad booth surfaces

Published - May 14, 2019 07:56 am IST - GURUGRAM

13DEL videograb

13DEL videograb

The Election Commission (EC) on Monday ordered repoll at a booth in Asaoti, Faridabad, a day after a BJP polling agent was arrested on charges of influencing voters. The re-polling will be held on May 19.

The accused, Giriraj, was arrested by the Palwal police on Sunday on charges of “influencing” the voters and disobeying the orders of a public servant under the Indian Penal Code, and removal of ballot papers under The Representation of the People Act.

The EC, in a press statement, said that a complaint of violation of secrecy of voting in Asaoti of Prithla Assembly constituency was reported and was found true on enquiry by the observer.

The Commission also placed presiding officer Amit Atri under suspension for the dereliction of duty and criminal action was being initiated against him.

Action against officers

Micro-observer Sonal Gulati has been barred from any election-related work for three years for not reporting the incident correctly, and the Returning Officer has been transferred out.

The poll panel has posted IAS Ashok Kumar Garg as the new RO of Faridabad parliamentary constituency. He has been directed to join by forenoon on Tuesday.

According to the FIR registered by Mr. Atri, the accused pressed the EVM button thrice on behalf of as many women voters in the garb of helping them.

Another polling agent inside the booth recorded it on his mobile and shared the video. Soon, people gathered at the booth and the accused fled. Mr. Atri, in his complaint, said that he had warned the accused against his behaviour, but he did not listen to him. The matter came to light when the video became viral and reached the police.

Palwal Superintendent of Police Narendera Bijarniya told The Hindu that a case was registered against the accused under Section 171C and 188 of the IPC and 135 of the RP Act.

Helping women voters

Giriraj, however, claimed that he had just been helping the women voters exercise their franchise. He denied having pressed the EVM button and cast the vote on their behalf. “Had I done so, the women would have also protested,” said Giriraj, a shopkeeper.

He said the agents of the other two parties present inside the booth had also helped the voters in a similar manner, but he did not make their videos. “There were two ballot units with 28 candidates. So we all had decided to help our voters,” he said.

Viral video

Meanwhile, another video surfaced on Monday night wherein a man is seen standing near the cabin meant for voting and making gestures apparently to tell the voter whom to vote. The 19-second video, doing the rounds on Twitter, had been shot at one of the polling booths in Haryana during the Lok Sabha poll in the State on Sunday.

Taking cognisance of the video, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said it has been sent to Chief Electoral Officer, Haryana, for investigation.

“Sent to CEO Haryana for investigating. Please send details, if u have any,” read the tweet by Mr. Lavasa.

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