Aizawl: Mizoram chief electoral officer (CEO) Ashish Kundra on Tuesday said that any persons found deliberately tampering candidate list on polling day will be punished as per laws.
Addressing a press conference in Aizawl on Tuesday afternoon, Kundra said an investigation was launched following a complaint filed by Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM)-Congress combine that their joint candidate had been wrongly placed in the candidate list displayed in various polling stations in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district on April 11, the day the state went for Lok Sabha polls.
“Soon after the complaint, we had sought explanation from officials, who gave elaborate explanation stating that the erroneous candidate list was rectified and replaced a day ahead of voting, except in some fur-flung polling stations due to poor connectivity,” he said.
Kundra said that they have also intimated and explained the matter to the complainant(s). “We are still inquiring the matter and action will be certainly taken against persons involved in the case if it was intentionally done to harm the prospect of a candidate,” he said.
On April 11, the ZPM-Congress alliance in Aizawl and Lunglei submitted separate complaints to election officials alleging that the name of its joint candidate Lalnghinglova Hmar had been misplaced in the candidate list displayed at various polling stations in Lunglei district till the last hour of polling.
The ZPM-Congress had alleged that many voters cast their votes against their candidates due to the mistake as illiterate voters like in Lunglei were normally told to cast their votes on the basis of candidate list.
Alleging that the mistake was deliberately committed with the instruction of the returning officer, they demanded action against him.
Displeased with the response from CEO office, the ZPM-Congress combine again lodged fresh complaint on April 18. This was followed by an FIR lodged by the legal cell of Congress on April 30 at the Lunglei police station. The FIR was, however, rejected on the ground that the matter is with the Election Commission.
Meanwhile, Kundra said that the election machinery is fully prepared for counting for Lok Sabha election and Assembly bypolls to Aizawl West-I seat to be held on Thursday along with rest of the country.
He said that elaborate security arrangement has been made in view of counting and at least four companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) will be deployed, who will be assisted by armed and unarmed state police.
According to the CEO, there will be 10 counting centres across the state where 1,321 officials will be deployed for the counting, which will begin from 8 am. He said that counting could get delayed due to Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballots System (ETPBS).
About 63% of voters exercised their franchise in the Lok Sabha polls held on April 11 to decide the fate of six contesting candidates. Besides, three candidates also contested for the Aizawl West-I assembly seat the same day.