ASAD ASHRAF | 12 APRIL, 2019
Did The Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland Just Cast 8 Votes?
#TCVotes This is normal here, say poll officers.
NEW DELHI: Did Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland, Y Pattan just vote eight times over? Well, according to a video going viral on the social media ---and now posted by the Congress party as well---Pattan, wearing a BJP scarf, enter the poll booth, and with seven to eight voting slips proceeds to cast his vote(s).
The video was recorded at polling station number 31 at Riphiyam old -111 under TYUI assembly constituency in Workha district in the first phase of polling on April 11.
This is not the first time Y Pattan has taken law into his own hands. In 2012, he was caught with more than Rs two crores in cash in his vehicle in Workha district. He has been also been seen as instrumental in getting DGP Rupin Sharma transferred from the state, a police officer well regarded for his integrity and honesty in the state.
The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee has asked the Election Commission to looking into what it described as a “blatant violation of poll conduct.”
In a press release, the party said, “such disregard and blatant violation of election rules by the home minister has brought disrepute to the office he holds.”
Condemning what it called an “irresponsible” and “blatant act”, the NPCC said it had apprised the Nagaland chief electoral officer Abhijit Sinha to take cognizance of the “shameful act” perpetrated by none other than the deputy chief minister, who also holds the home portfolio.
Speaking to the The Citizen, an IAS officer from Workha district currently on poll duty, called such violations as normal and accused the media of ignoring such reports from North East.
“These kind of poll violations has been very normal, proxies are there to vote in large numbers under the influence of the ruling party, and the only difference is that this video showed the deputy chief minister himself involved in acts of rigging the election”, he said.
The polling officer explained further the rigours of proxy voting to The Citizen:
“If one looks at the profile of officers posted in Nagaland at administrative posts, it is apparent that all the senior officers are from the state itself which is in violation of the service posting rules. A certain proportion of officers in any state are not supposed to be indigenous. These local officers selected through state service exams are given administrative posts at the behest of the politicians. These politicians make sure that these officers exert pressure on village councils to vote for the ruling party which has been rampant in the first phase of elections held of April 11.”
Commenting on the high percentage of polling he said, “It’s mainly because of proxy voting. You can see the deputy Chief Minister carrying 7-8 voter slips with him in a town, imagine what would be the condition in the villages of Nagaland. We are witness to it and based on our experiences and the incident recorded yesterday we can easily gauge that more than 20 percent of the votes casted yesterday were proxy votes. “
“Apart from this, in certain polling booths yesterday, there was clear pressure from local village observers and councils to make sure that polling goes up to 90 % and in favor of the ruling party. Poll officers do whatever they can to curb this but it’s so rampant that it becomes difficult to control it at a mass level. The problem is systematic and must be addressed by the election commission,” he said.