Nineteen polling stations spread across eight districts Arunachal will go for re-polls on 20 April. The re-polls have been necessitated due to defective electronic voting machines (EVM), voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) and damage to EVMs or VVPAT by voters, while in one station re-poll is being held after the EVMs were damaged in a bus accident. In some stations, voters were prevented from reaching their designated polling stations by party workers.
The dates for holding re-polls, if any, in Palin, Tali, Nyapin and Koloriang constituencies will be decided on a later date. There are reports of poll-related violence, including damage to EVMs, having occurred in these constituencies. It remains to be seen what the Election Commission of India decides.
Poll-related violence, though not large-scale, is not new in the state. This election, too, there was violence as several places witnessed group clashes and attacks on poll officials.
With bare minimum facilities, elections are conducted in the state by government officials. Instead of helping the officials in ensuring peaceful conduct of elections, often it’s the political parties and their supporters who take out their anger and frustration on the poll officials. If the officials have to worry about their own safety, one can imagine what kind of pressure they have to endure to conduct polls. It is advisable that political leaders and their party workers let the poll officials do their duties peacefully.