Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Even as Election Commission suspended Balaghat’s postal ballot nodal officer Himmat Singh on Monday night following the postal ballot box opening incident, politics has heated up over the incident.
A Congress party delegation led by Abhishek Manu Singhvi lodged complaint against Balaghat district collector Girish Mishra at Election Commission in New Delhi, accusing him of tampering with postal ballots.
Meanwhile, Balaghat collector Girish Mishra on Tuesday sent a detailed report on the incident to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Anupam Rajan, citing all the factors.
Interacting with media in Balaghat, he said he was not aware about opening of strong room before 3 pm. The political party representatives were present when strong room was opened.
When contacted, Girish Mishra told Free Press that Assistant Returning Officer opened the strong room after informing the political party representatives telephonically. The ARO intended to segregate the postal ballots Assembly-wise. The strong room was supposed to be opened at 3 pm. Against this, it was opened at 1.29 pm, which was a procedural lapse.
Sources said no sooner did the matter of Balaghat come to his knowledge on Monday night, CEO Anupam Rajan reported the matter to Election Commission.
On Tuesday, a delegation of Congress party submitted memorandum to Anupam Rajan, expressing dissatisfaction over minor action taken in Balaghat case. Congress reiterated the demand to remove Balaghat collector.
The Leader of Opposition Dr Govind Singh held Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains responsible for Balaghat incident.
No postal ballot opened in Balaghat: Anupam Rajan
Chief Electoral Officer Anupam Rajan spoke to media persons over Balaghat incident and said that no postal ballot was opened. He said postal ballots were segregated Assembly-wise in presence of representatives of political parties. The nodal officer has been suspended over procedural lapse. He added that from no other part of the state, such a complaint was received.
123 postal ballots rejected in Khandwa
In Khandwa, postal ballot voting took place after scheduled voting day, which was November 17. A report was sent to Election Commission in this regard. About 123 postal ballots cast after the scheduled date were rejected.
Officers trying to prove act genuine serious offence: Nath
State Congress president Kamal Nath tweeted that the manner in which postal ballots were opened in Balaghat on Monday was a serious case of misconduct. But the manner in which responsible officials tried to prove the act as genuine was more serious offence.