ECI seeks report on ‘booth capturing’ in Nari-Koyu


LIKABALI, 11 May: Following a complaint lodged by the Arunachal Democratic Party (ADP), the Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought a ‘factual report’ on reported incidents of ‘booth capturing’ in Nari-Koyu assembly constituency in Lower Siang district on the dayof the simultaneous polls.

ADP leaders filed a complaint with the ECI on 2 May, alleging unresponsive attitude from the district- and state-level electoral officers towards their complaint of booth capturing. As a result, the ECI on 6 May issued a letter to the CEO of the state, seeking the factual report in connection to the complaints filed.

It may be recalled that former chief minister Gegong Apang, who is the ADP chief and the candidate for the 36-Nari-Koyu constituency, and his party leaders sought re-polling at Saku, Sipu, Tabiripo, Kakki and Potte polling stations after reports of booth capturing and intimidation of election officers by BJP workers surfaced.

The party said that it lodged a number of FIRs with the police and the ARO, detailing instances of violative and offensive activities, “but no action has been initiated from the authority’s end so far.”

ADP spokesman Jhony Yangfo and the party’s youth wing functionaries met the returning officer of Nari-Koyu constituency in Likabali on Saturday and found that the RO of Nari-Koyu and the district election officer were “quite reluctant to accept verbal evidences regarding the reported booth capturing incidents,” the party said.

Following the meeting with the RO, the ADP leaders, addressing mediapersons in Likabali, said that “the electoral officers are seeking documentary/video evidence to establish the complaints. But it is a matter of regret that neither the polling agents allowed us to take photographs, nor were CCTV cameras installed at the polling stations to record the activities.”

“We have a lot of verbal evidence, which was produced before the electoral officers with the statements of eyewitnesses. But the electoral officers are quite reluctant to accept these and are seeking documentary/video evidences,” said Apang’s secretary Bolmi Kaye.

Kaye lamented that “a number of FIRs have been lodged at the Nari police station against the persons involved in criminal intimidation and manhandling, and the FIR copies were served to all the officers concerned, but no action has been taken yet.”

The ADP leaders have demanded that the authority concerned initiate an impartial inquiry into the intimidation cases, and said that re-polling at these polling stations is necessary to ensure free and fair election.