Wangham alleges UG interference, demands re-polling

ITANAGAR, Apr 11: Alleging undue interference by underground (UG) elements at the Longkhau polling station in Longding district, the National People’s Party’s (NPP) candidate for the Longding-Pumao constituency, Thangwang Wangham, has demanded re-polling at the polling station.
Talking to this daily over telephone, Wangham said he demanded re-polling as “unethical” voting practice had taken place at the polling station.
He said polling was disrupted for about an hour from 1 pm on Thursday.
“The trouble started following the casting of vote by an elderly woman with a vision problem,” Wangham said.
He said the woman sought assistance from a constable on duty in identifying her chosen (NPP) candidate’s symbol on the voting machine.
“But the supporters of the opposition party, allegedly the BJP, took it otherwise, and started a furious argument with me,” he said.
Wangham said the security personnel who were shielding him had to fire shots in the air as the situation went out of control.
Following this, Wangham along with his supporters and voters beat a hasty retreat from the polling station. He said some persons even chased him and intercepted him on the way.
He alleged that members of UG outfits also fired shots in the air, and summoned his polling agents to a nearby jungle in order to “demoralize” them.
Wangham said that, despite his plea for re-polling, the authority went ahead with the polling by restarting it at 2 pm, in the absence of his polling agents.
He, however, said he did not know whether the polling continued.
The NPP candidate had in an earlier press statement alleged that non-state actors were dictating terms to the public of the constituency to support the BJP candidate, and had demanded deployment of sufficient security personnel to ensure free and fair election.
When contacted, the Longding deputy commissioner said both the NPP and the BJP candidates of the constituency have filed FIRs with the police, levelling allegations and counter-allegations against each other. Both the FIRs have been registered, he said.
The DC, however, refrained from offering further details regarding the incident.
The returning officer also did not respond to questions, saying he was too busy with his duty.
Meanwhile, the additional CEO here said there was no official confirmation about the incident from the authorities in Longding district.