M A I N   N E W S

EC team to probe Chapra violence
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 29
Even as the Election Commission today decided to send a two-member team to Chapra in Bihar for holding an inquiry into alleged large-scale violence and electoral malpractice, a delegation of NDA leaders met the three-member poll panel to seek deployment of additional Central paramilitary force in Madhepura in Bihar where RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav is contesting against senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav.

A two-member EC team comprising Adviser K.J. Rao and Principal Secretary Ananth Kumar would visit Chapra and hold a detailed inquiry on May 2 and 3, commission sources said.

The team would hold discussions with all candidates and those who seek to give evidence before it about the happenings in the constituency on the polling day on April 26.

In the key Chapra constituency Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy is contesting election against RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav.

Asked why the inquiry was being ordered, the sources said the commission wanted to satisfy itself about the genuineness of the complaints. The team is expected to submit its report to the commission soon after its return.

Mr Rudy and his party, the BJP, as well as the NDA have demanded countermanding of poll in the constituency. Mr Rudy met the commission yesterday demanding repoll in the constituency alleging large-scale rigging by supporters of the RJD chief.

The NDA delegation, which met the poll panel today reiterated its demand of countermanding elections in Chapra apart from seeking additional central paramilitary force for Madhepura.

The NDA team, led by BJP General Secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, complained before the full commission that in Chapra there was large-scale violence and rigging by RJD supporters and demanded re-poll in the entire constituency.

After the meeting, Mr Naqvi told reporters that the delegation also demanded countermanding of poll in the Ghazipur Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh which saw violence on the polling day on April 26.

He said the delegation wanted special observers to be sent to 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh and eight in Bihar in view of their “sensitive” nature.

Accusing the RJD leader of promoting lawlessness in Bihar, Mr Naqvi said the Congress, which preached democratic values, was siding with those who violated democratic norms.

On filing of FIRs against Mr Rudy on the charges of booth-capturing, indulging in scuffle, theft and initimidating voters during the poll by the Bihar police, Mr Naqvi said it was merely aimed at countering the complaint before the commission.

“(Filing of) FIRs is Laloo’s tactics. He has become a joke in politics,” he said.

Mr Naqvi also charged the Samajwadi Party with indulging in intimidation of voters in some places in Uttar Pradesh.

Claiming that there were several instances of misuse of official machinery in Bihar, Mr Naqvi said photographs of the Banka Returning Officer sharing the dais with the Chief Minister had appeared in newspapers.

He said if the commission could take note of officials receiving Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani at the airport, then action should be taken against the Banka District Magistrate too.

The NDA delegation included Union Minister of State for Home Swami Chinmayanand, Balbir Punj, MP, JD (U) leaders Jaya Jaitley and Javed Raza and Akali Dal leader Avtar Singh besides Mr Naqvi.

This is for the third time that the EC has received a delegation on the Chapra issue.


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