Thousands of supporters of Kiphire district units of Janata Dal (United) and National People’s Party (NPP) staged a protest near deputy commissioner’s office at Halibad Kiphire on Thursday against the alleged illegal casting of votes at Pungro town “B” Part 19 polling station.
The two parties also submitted separate representations to the returning officer (RO) of 60 Pungro-Kiphire constituency. Initially, party workers and supporters of JD (U) gathered outside the DC’s office in protest against the alleged illegal casting of votes, which was later followed by NPP party men and supporters. Supporters of both the parties also displayed placards some of which read—“Threat to democracy”, “Stop terrorising”, “Misuse of power by sector magistrate” etc.
Meanwhile, JD (U) candidate from 60 Pungro-Kiphire A/C, T. Yangseo Sangtam in the representation alleged that the sector magistrate of Part 19 Pungro Town “B” polling centre had violated the election model code of conduct.
He alleged that the presiding officer, on the directive of sector magistrate, had issued 120 pre-printed serial numbered slips which were supposed to be issued before 4 p.m.
He further alleged that the presiding officer had also issued another 60 pre-printed serial numbered slips after closing the gate and allowed casting of votes till 7:30 p.m. on polling day on Tuesday. He also accused the sector magistrate for trying to politically influence the voters.
Alleging that some rival party leaders had threatened voters of other parties, Yangseo appealed to the RO to crosscheck the videographic evidence of the polling station and nullify the vote count.
In another memorandum, NPP party’s election agent Lirimong Sangtam and polling agent Yimsuba alleged violation of Election Commission of India (ECI) norms by the presiding officer of the Pungro town “B” polling station. They claimed that the presiding officer had issued 120 voting tokens at 4:30 p.m. besides allowing casting of 16 extra votes without voting slips in the presences of other polling officials, Pungro ADC and polling agents.
Alleging that about 200 to 300 youth supporters of NPF had also forcefully entered the polling room, NPP demanded that polling at Part 19 Pungro Town “B“ polling centre be nullified for violation of ECI guidelines mentioned in chapter XXIX clause of poll 1.1 and 1.2.
The RO has since forwarded both the memoranda to chief electoral officer for nullifying the poll.
The Pungro Town “B” Part 19 has a total of 1,161 voters.
Though ECI had already announced re-poll at Pungro Town “A” and Khonga under 60 Pungro-Kiphire constituency, along with other polling stations in Nagaland, however, JD (U) and NPP have demanded nullifying of the votes under Part 19 Pungro Town “B” polling centre.
Both the parties have warned of strong action of their demands were not met.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner and the returning officer have also written to the chief electoral officer Nagaland seeking his immediate intervention and direction.
It may be recalled that Kiphire deputy commissioner Mohammed Ali Shihab had issued prohibitory orders under Section144 of CrPC in the district on February 25 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. till the entire election process was over.