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news details
Missing ballot papers resurface during recount in Ari Mardan Shah Panchayat
2/21/2020 11:33:51 PM
M S NAZKI
EARLY TIMES REPORT

POONCH, Feb 21: A case of missing ballot papers’ resurfacing has come to fore in Ari Mardan Shah Panchayat of block Mendhar in district Poonch after recounting of votes was ordered by the Election Authority of J&K.
Nahida Akhter, one of the candidates for Sarpanch of Ari Mardan Shah Panchayat had filed a petition for recounting as it was alleged by her that few officials supervising the election process conspired against her to help one of her opponents.
There were three candidates in in the fray namely Rozy Sharma, who secured 140 votes, Tahira Jabeen, who polled 358 votes and petitioner Nahida Akhter, who bagged 345 votes out of total 860 votes polled out which 17 votes were rejected during counting.
The candidate Nahida Akhter smelt conspiracy against her during counting of votes and alleged that bundles of some votes are interchanged during counting by the RO, Mohd Fazal in order to help the other candidate Tahira Jabeen, who happened to be wife of Revenue Department’s Girdawar, who influenced the RO to ensure Tahira Jabeen’s win by any means.
Nahid Akhter, then filed a case before Election authority and succeeded in getting an order of recounting of votes. A circular was issued vide ACD No ADCP/PS/1734-40, dated: 14/2/2020 to appoint Muklis Qureshi, DPO, Vikas Anand, Deputy Electoral Officer Poonch, Farooq Ahmed Qureshi ARO and Mohd Fazal, RO for recounting of votes.
During recounting, it was found that trunk where ballot papers, votes and other important materials were kept was locked and keys were missing.
After failing to get the keys, the appointed authority broken the locks and found that Returning Officer’s diary was missing while envelopes of important papers and votes were kept unsealed.
More importantly, it was also came to light that 179 ballot papers of Ward No 1, 85 ballot papers of Ward No 2, 106 ballot papers of Ward No 3 and 103 ballot papers of Ward No 4 were missing against total of 900 ballots papers which were issued to RO during election process.
Nahida alleged that after recounting period that all such thefts are done on the behest of Kousar Niazi, who happens to be Girdawar of Revenue Department and most influential person in the administration.
She appealed to Lt Governor G C Murmu, Chief Electoral Officer of J&K and Divisional Commissioner Jammu to take strict cognizance of missing ballot papers, unsealed votes, missing diaries and keys from a locked trunk kept in the premises of government office and under custody of officers, who happen to be custodian of election materials and votes.
Moreover, she also demanded seizure of powers of BDC Mendhar till such ballot papers are not recovered.
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