Booth capturing by Apni Party leader’s brother in north Kashmir, alleges PAGD

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Srinagar: People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and an independent candidate, contesting DDC election from Bandipora-A panchayat block Thursday alleged booth capturing and bogus voting by Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party workers during the 6th phase of DDC election in Garoora village of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

The candidates alleged that Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, brother of former legislator and vice-president JKAP, Usman Majeed had captured a polling station and polled bogus votes in Garoora village that is the native village of Usman Majeed.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Bandipora, senior PDP leader Nizamuddin Bhat today said that the PAGD candidate from Bandipora- A block, Gulam Mohi-ud-din Bhat and an independent candidate Mohammad Shafi had already made apprehensions about the said polling station and had written to the election commission for adequate security measures for the smooth conduct of polls.

According to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) Bhat said that the apprehensions made by these candidates were ignored, which resulted in booth capturing and bogus voting by the JKAP workers in Garoora village.

He said that the polling agents of both the candidates were thrown out of the said polling stations and their electoral rolls were torn out while the police and security agencies acted as mute spectators.

Bhat was addressing the press conference in the presence of PAGD candidate and the independent candidate in Bandipora. He said the polling booth was hijacked and the workers of a particular party made undue interference in the polling process.

“The hijacking of the polling booth and undue interference by some workers of a particular party gives a bad name as well as puts a question mark on the functioning of election machinery in a democratic setup. Votes of servicemen and employees who were not present in the village have been cast by the workers and polling agents of JKAP party,” he said.

Bhat said that election commission should probe the matter fairly and it has been reported that CCTV cameras were installed in the said polling station, which also should be checked fairly and openly.

Bhat said that a fair inquiry should be ordered and a re-poll should be held in the particular polling station to uphold the sanctity of democratic institutions.

JKAP vice-president Usman Majeed has fielded his wife from Bandipora-A block to contest the DDC elections and Garoora village, where alleged booth capturing has been reported, is his native village.

Pertinently, a video from the said polling station has also gone viral on social media and other platforms, wherein brother of Usman Majeed could be seen sitting next to the ballot box and asking the voters to vote in their favour.

The PAGD and the independent candidate from Bandipora-A block have also filed a written complaint before the state election commission, requesting for a fair inquiry and re-poll in the said polling station. Meanwhile, deputy commissioner Bandipora, Dr Owais Ahmad said that they are verifying the incident from every side, however, they had already kept such sensitive polling stations under CCTV surveillance.

He said that they have already initiated an inquiry into the matter and CCTV footage from the polling station will also help them in verifying the facts. “We will be submitting a comprehensive inquiry report to the concerned officer regarding this issue,” he said—(KNO)

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