Aizawl: The ZPM and Congress, which contested the assembly polls against each other last year but joined hands in Lok Sabha polls, on Thursday lodged a fresh complaint with the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), seeking prompt action against a Returning Officer of the Lok Sabha polls for his alleged “deliberate act” to defame the ZPM-Congress joint candidate Lalnghinglova Hmar.
In a letter to the CEO, ZPM and Congress said that the default list of contesting candidates were displayed in some polling stations till the last hour of polling day in Lunglei district, where Hmar, placed in serial number 5 in EVMs, was misplaced with an independent candidate at serial number 4.
The letter was received by joint CEO H Lianzela as the CEO was on leave.
The candidate list was transparently displayed outside the polling stations for information to voters.
“The Joint CEO and District Education Officer of Lunglei district had admitted that the names of candidates were misplaced in the list and that that the presiding officer of Rangte and Dengsur under Thorang assembly constituency could not be contacted to rectify the mistake,” the latter signed by Lalhnehzauva, a political agent of Lalnghinglova Hmar, said.
The letter demanded action against Aizawl district deputy commissioner Vanlalngaihsaka, who was the RO of Lok Sabha polls, alleging that under his authority such mistakes were committed in the area where illiterate voters were normally told to cast their votes on the basis of serial number of candidatures in the EVMs.
The letter also accused the RO of filing FIR against Hmar before he received reply to the show cause notice served to the candidate (Hmar) over misprint of a party’s symbol in a local daily, where Hmar is the joint editor.
It further alleged that the RO was responsible for leakage of a copy of the show cause notice served to Hmar, which was widely circulated on social media, two hours before the candidate received the hard copy in sealed envelope.
Citing that leaking a photo copy of the show cause notice before the candidate receives the hard copy is against law, the letter demanded legal action against the RO.
The letter also blamed the RO for including Hmar in his FIR, saying it was a direct violation of the Supreme Court ruling of March 11, 2013 which stated that the editor of a newspaper shall be responsible in any civil or criminal cased filed against it for publishing offensive report.
It alleged that there were hidden agendas in filing FIR and leaking out the show cause notice to deliberately mar the reputation of Hmar.
The ZPM and Congress also accused the CEO office of being “biased” stating while prompt action was taken against the complaint lodged by the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) over misprint of the party’s symbol, no action has been taken against the complaint filed by them.
Meanwhile, Joint CEO H Lianzela said the election machinery has always acted in impartial manner.
“The complaint lodged by ZPM and Congress was taken up as per which explanations were called from the officials, who were responsible for making erroneous candidate list. The officials clarified that the erroneous lists were rectified and replaced with corrected ones except in some remote polling stations before complaint was lodged,” he said.
He added that clarifications made by officials were intimated to leaders of Lunglei unit of ZPM and Congress combine, who later withdrew their complaint on polling day.