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Posted at: Oct 22, 2019, 7:58 AM; last updated: Oct 22, 2019, 7:58 AM (IST)

20 plaints from Dakha alone

Mahesh Sharma

Ahmedgarh, October 21

Polling passed off peacefully amid allegations of rigging by the Congress during the Dakha segment bypoll, with no untoward incident.

Around 71 per cent of the electorate, including a record number of women, exercised their franchise.

Minor incidents were reported from some villages as supporters of candidates scuffled over issues including transporting voters to polling stations and presence of people from different segments.

The segment, however, emerged as conspicuous for making maximum number of complaints to the Election Commission. Out of 26 complaints received by the ECI from across the state, 20 complaints were made from Dakha segment alone. Of these, 19 were made by SAD candidate and one by Lok Insaaf Party candidate Sukhdev Singh Chakk. The Congress made the lone complaint to the returning officer that was forwarded to the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dakha, for action against SAD candidate Manpreeet Ayali.

Supporters of candidates launched by rival parties, including Shiromani Akali Dal and Lok Insaaf Party, accused the polling staff of favouring Congress supported candidate. Minor scuffles were reported from Hargobindpura, Sarabha, Khanjarwal and Talwandi villages.

Senior functionary of Lok Insaf Party, Jaswant Singh Gajjanmajra, alleged that the supporters of both Congress and SAD violated the Model Code of Conduct by wooing voters through unfair means. 

“The supporters of Congress candidate Captain Sandeep Sandhu and SAD candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali purchased vote at almost all villages by paying money and supplying drugs and liquor,” alleged Gajjanmajra. However, the SAD and Congress leaders denied the allegations.

Contrary to the expectations of supporters of almost all candidates, voters had to be persuaded to cast their votes at the earliest. Though the staff at almost all polling stations completed the formalities for starting polling at sharp 7 am, enthusiasts had to make calls and visit homes to invite voters to use their right to vote early in the morning. Even the activists of various parties had to be reminded time and again to ensure that the vote was cast positively. The administration made extra security arrangements in instill confidence among voters. 

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