Rigging alleged in Jammu bypoll, EC withholds results
25 February 2002
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: The Election Commission has withheld the results to the Jammu-Poonch parliamentary constituency by-election following allegations of mass rigging in two segments in Rajouri and Darhal. The counting, which stopped on Sunday night, resumed on Monday morning. According to reports, National Conference candidate Talib Hussain has an edge over others. The Nation Conference reportedly polled more than 2.53 lakh votes - 55,000 more than its nearest rival BJP. This is the first time in the electoral history of Jammu and Kashmir that the National Conference has registered a win in the seat. The opposition has alleged that the ruling party had manoeuvred the results and refused to accept the outcome. National Conference leaders countered this as the ''opposition''s undemocratic approach”. The Election Commission has summoned Returning Officer Rohit Kansal with the ballot papers of Darhal and Rajouri Assembly segments before declaring the result, sources said. Candidates of the BJP, Congress, Panthers Party and Peoples Democratic Party and other contestants have alleged that the ruling party had ''rigged the polls'', a charge denied by the National Conference as ''absurd and ridiculous''. At the end of the counting that lasted for more than 24 hours, the National Conference reportedly polled 2.53 lakh votes followed by BJP 1.98 lakh and Congress 1.86 lakh votes. Tables turned on BJP after the counting for Rajouri and Darhal segments started early Monday morning. Until then the BJP was ahead of the Congress by more than 1402 votes and the National Conference was in the third place.