Indian Express

‘Harvest kept us busy, so our friends voted in our place’

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During repolling in Mewat, Gurgaon on Thursday. During repolling in Mewat, Gurgaon on Thursday.

When repolling took place in eight booths in the Gurgaon parliamentary constituency on Thursday, many villagers could make it to the queues now that harvesting was over.

The case, however, was quite different on April 10. Harvesting had kept most villagers busy and so they had sent their friends instead to vote for them.

The repolling took place after the AAP lodged a complaint with the Election Commission alleging bogus voting and booth rigging.
Most voters said their voting preferences had not changed since last time.

A voter in Sohna said, “On April 10, everyone in the village was busy with harvesting the crops. And since most of us were going to vote for INLD candidate, Zakir Hussain, we just asked our friends to cast votes for us while we went to the fields to work. This time we can’t do that because there is so much scrutiny. Besides, harvesting season is over, so we are all free.”

Election Commission officials used some novel techniques to ensure that the verification was done properly this time. Anganwadi women were called to the booths to verify the identities of the women voters, since officials said women were not comfortable showing their faces to men.

Mewat district comprises over four lakh Muslim votes and is considered to be Hussain’s stronghold.

“BJP’s Rao Inderjit Singh has never visited us in five years. And Yogendra Yadav is a good candidate but unlikely to win. So there is no point in voting for him. Hussain is like our ghar ka aadmi,” a voter from Rehna village in Nuh, where Hussain hails from, said.

Heavy police presence, including personnel from Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force  and local police, were seen at all booths.
While voting took place peacefully, only three booths in Nuh Assembly segment recorded a slight increase in voter turnout from April 10. Two booths in Ferozepur Jhirka Assembly segment, on the other hand, recorded a drastic decrease.

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