Monday, February 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Randeep Surjewala seeks repoll
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 27 — Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, who unsuccessfully contested against the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, from Narwana in the recent elections, has demanded a repoll in the constituency due to the alleged irregularities committed by the ruling party during the polling and counting of votes.

Releasing copies of a letter written to the Election Commission of India in this regard, to the press here today, Mr Surjewala alleged that about 4000 bogus votes were cast by the ruling party in the constituency. For this it had got published duplicate ballot papers which were given to certain presiding officers.

Showing a blank ballot paper to the newsmen Mr Surjewala claimed that it was given to him by one of the presiding officers.

He also alleged that certain presiding officers made the votes polled in favour of the Congress invalid by putting additional stamp mark on them. He said of about 950 votes rejected, about 700 votes were in favour of the Congress and all had double stamp marks.

Two empty ballot boxes were recovered from the office of the Executive Engineer, Public Health, after the elder son of the Chief Minister, Mr Ajay Chautala, had visited it on the polling day.

He said he was leading by 969 votes after the eighth round of counting. After that the counting was abruptly stopped. It was resumed only after Ajay along with the S.P. and D.C. reached the counting centre. Though two and a half rounds of counting remained, the authorities opened all the ballot boxes together. Suddenly Mr Chautala was declared victorious.

Mr Surjewala said if the Election Commission did not accept his demand for a repoll, he would challenge the election of Mr Chautala in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

He also alleged that at least two booths were captured by the ruling party. Several Congress leaders, including Mrs Sonia Gandhi, took up the matter with the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr M.S.Gill, but he took no action.

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