EC action likely against Mehbooba, Afzal, Sagar
3 May 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: Even as the Election Commission of India (EC) has initiated an inquiry into the conduct of the PDP chief, Mehbooba Mufti, and Minister for Irrigation & PHE, Qazi Mohammad Afzal, on the day of polling in Srinagar, National Conference’s complaint in the matter has been dismissed by the local election authorities. According to informed sources, in its complaint filed by the Chief Polling Agent Ali Mohammad Sagar, NC had sought repoll at 13 polling stations—nine in Srinagar and four in Budgam districts. It had quoted five specific reasons Arrest of the Chief Polling Agent Ali Mohammad Sagar in Khanyar; some MInisters’ presence and movement in their respective Assembly constituencies on the day of polling; unveiling of a woman voter at Burn Hall School polling station by the PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti; discrepancies in electoral rolls in Khanyar and Chadoura segments; besides, the NC’s own observers’ report that men in uniform had been found at almost all polling stations. District Election Officer Srinagar, Shailender Kumar, is understood to have observed that there were no compelling reasons to order repoll at any of the nine polling stations in Srinagar. Similar is the report submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer by DEO Kh Bashir Ahmed. Interestingly, NC had complained Sagar’s arrest and 'unnecessary hurdles' created for the voters in Khanyar but it had not sought repoll in any polling station in that segment. It had also objected to the way Mehbooba had unveiled a woman voter and prevented her from casting the vote but the party had not sought repoll at Burn Hall School as well. Sources told the EXCELSIOR that in the wake of NC’s threat to pull out from the elections, EC has initiated a fresh inquiry. Sources believed that not only Mehbooba and Qazi Afzal but also Sagar himself could land in trouble as there was 'compelling documentary evidence' against them to have engineered bogus voting and created 'serious hurdles' in the conduct of smooth polling.