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Panchayat Polls: Water poured inside ballot boxes at two polling booths in Chaibasa

Mail News Service

Chaibasa, May 27:  Almost a few minutes before sealing of ballot boxes, supporters of candidates at two polling stations poured water inside the ballot boxes to disrupt the final moments of polling that had till then, conducted peacefully.

The polling process was disrupted in two polling stations in Mazgaon block. In one such incident a voter poured water into a ballot box at Anganwadi Kudhatu polling station number 117 of Dhobadhobin Panchayat. In a similar incident, water was poured inside a ballot box of booth no 11 in Upgraded Primary School at Putisal under Ghorabandha Panchayat hortlythe ballot box was to be sealed.

 According to information, a person named Nandlal Tiriya was irked at voters not casting their votes in favour of his candidate Sona Singh Pingua, husband of former Chief Mamina Pingua. He was urging people to vote for Sona Singh Pingua but the voters turned a deaf ear to his pleas as a result of which an angry and frustrated Nandlal Tiriya poured water in the ballot box an act provoked by the candidate Sona Singh Pingua. Chances are that this act might turn a cause for re-polling at the booth. The security personnel present there immediately caught Nandlal Tiriya and took him to Mazgaon police station.

In a similar incident at the Putrasai polling station, a war of words between two candidates ensued on casting of votes during which one of the supporters of one candidate poured water in the ballot box barely five minutes prior to the ballot box being sealed. This led to a commotion inside the polling station that prompted security personnel posted at the booth to nab the candidates who propagated the chaos, Budhram Hembram, Janen Hembram and Turam Pingua from the Purtsai polling station and take them the Mazgaon police station. As soon as the information spread, other candidates with their supporters gathered at the Mazgaon police station and tried to foment trouble. Seeing the crowd and gauging its intent, the police chased them away.

The second incident occurred at Kudahatu polling station about 20 minutes to 2:00 pm. By that time more than 60 percent of voting had been completed in the polling station and barely a handful of voters were waiting their turn to cast their votes when the incident occurred. The police administration, including the Block Development Officer was investigating the incident at the Kudahatu polling station. Information of the incident had been conveyed to the Deputy Commissioner and other senior officials. The information of water being poured into the ballot box had been conveyed by the Block Development Officer to the District Election Department. In polling station no 117, there are 366 voters, of which 181 are women while 185 are male.

The Purtisai incident happened barely five minutes before the sealing of the ballot box. The incident was the outcome of a dispute between two leading candidates and their supporters. One candidate’s supporter poured water in the ballot box in protest. The security men on duty at the polling station caught three persons and took them to the police station.  Just 5 minutes before the sealing of the ballot box in the Upgraded Primary School, Purtisai, after a dispute between the two leading candidates, one of the parties put water in the ballot box, after which the security personnel present there caught three persons and brought them to the police station. Out of 387 voters at this polling station, 248 voters had exercised their franchise.

Mazgaon Block Development Officer Joseph Kandulna stated that his office had been informed of  the incidents of water being poured in ballot boxes at the two polling stations and the matter was immediately investigated. He said that it was confirmed that water had been poured into the two ballot boxes at the two polling booths but the damaged caused could not be ascertained. He said that the information had been sent to District Election Department and further action would be taken after receipt of directives from the department.

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