Elections 2019: Alleged Booth Capturing in Faridabad, Polling Agent Arrested But His Political Affiliation Not Revealed

UPDATE: As reported by the Indian Express, the accused has been identified as Giriraj Singh, a polling agent appointed by the BJP. He was produced in court and is now out on bail.

Sub Inspector (SI) Kuldeep Singh, Station House Officer (SHO) of the Sadar Palwal police station said, “We found out about the matter on Sunday afternoon after someone sent the video to us. An FIR was registered regarding the matter and the accused was arrested in the afternoon itself. He has been produced in court and released on bail today.”

In his complaint regarding the matter, on the basis of which the FIR has been registered, the Presiding Officer, Amit Atri, states that the accused, “with the excuse of helping voters”, pressed the button meant to cast votes three times. “I stopped him each time but Giriraj Singh did not listen. While Giriraj Singh was trying to put a vote, some person recorded a video film and made it viral. During this time, a crowd of other voters came and Giriraj Singh managed to escape,” the complainant stated.

An FIR has been registered under Sections 171C (undue influence at elections) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Section 135 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, and 1988.

Faridabad: In what could be a serious tampering of a democratic exercise, a polling agent has been accused of booth capturing at Asaoti in Prithla village that falls under the Faridabad seat, that went to polls on Sunday.

faridabad Poll Officer

In the video that went viral, a man in blue shirt, later recognized as a polling agent, kept walking up to the polling booth and appears to have either pointed to the party symbol on the EVM or pressed the button, for at least three lady voters. Notably, no other official present in the room tried to stop the polling agent.

The Election Commission took action against the agent after many people tagged the Haryana election body’s twitter handle in the video.

Election Commissioner, Ashok Lavasa, confirmed that an FIR was lodged and the accused has been arrested. The District Election Officer (DEO) said that the polling was not compromised despite the attempts of the accused.

“DEO Faridabad reported that the observer, Sanjay Kumar, investigated the entire matter. Report of the observer will be examined by ECI and action will be taken against those found wanting in their duty,” Lavasa tweeted. The DEO, Faridabad also tweeted “Prompt action taken. FIR lodged. Person behind bars. Observer enquired the matter personally and is satisfied that polling was never vitiated (sic).”

In Faridabad, Union Minister Krishan Pal Gurjar of the BJP is seeking re-election. Avtar Singh Bhadana is the Congress candidate and Pandit Naveen Jaihind is the Aam Aadmi Party candidate.

In the first phase held on April 11, there were reports of booth capturing at Numaish Colony, Bharat Mata chowk, Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Predictably, the police categorically denied the charges. Strikingly, the affected area is a BJP stronghold.

Polling agents are appointed by the candidates standing in the election to oversee the process in the polling station.

It is significant to note that the accused agent’s political party has not been made known as yet. Instead, the authorities have completely refrained from commenting on this crucial aspect, the reason of which is best known to them!

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