A polling agent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was arrested by Palwal Police after a video of him allegedly trying to influence voters at a polling booth in Faridabad went viral on social media. An FIR has been registered against the accused, identified as Giriraj Singh. He was produced in court and is now out on bail.
In his complaint regarding the matter, on the basis of which the FIR has been registered, the Presiding Officer, Amit Atri, states that the accused, “with the excuse of helping voters”, pressed the button meant to cast votes three times. “I stopped him each time but Giriraj Singh did not listen. While Giriraj Singh was trying to put a vote, some person recorded a video film and made it viral. During this time, a crowd of other voters came and Giriraj Singh managed to escape,” the complainant stated.
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In the video, Singh (in a blue t-shirt) is seen walking up to the polling booth on three occasions in less than 1.30 minutes and appears to have reportedly either pointed to the party symbol on the EVM or pressed the button, for at least three voters. As he gets up to walk to the booth for the third time, he is told that he is being called outside. He, however, walks into the booth for the third time to repeat the violation, before finally walking out of the purview of the camera.
Polling agents are appointed by the candidates standing in the election to oversee the polling process in the station.
After the video went viral, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said appropriate action will be taken after the observer submits his report. Responding to the video on Twitter, the District Election Officer stated, “Matter taken very seriously by the administration of Faridabad district. ARO Bharat Bhushan Gogia HCS rushed to the spot. Soon he was joined by the observer SH. Sanjay Kumar who investigated the entire matter.” The DEO, Faridabad also tweeted that the observer was “satisfied that polling was never vitiated.”
A BJP polling agent has been arrested by Palwal Police for trying to influence voters at a polling booth in Asaoti, which falls under the Faridabad Lok Sabha constituency, on Sunday. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/bjksDe7pdm
— Sakshi Dayal (@sakshi_dayal) May 13, 2019
“We found out about the matter on Sunday afternoon after someone sent the video to us. An FIR was registered regarding the matter and the accused was arrested in the afternoon itself. He has been produced in court and released on bail today,” said Sub Inspector (SI) Kuldeep Singh, Station House Officer (SHO) of the Sadar Palwal police station. An FIR has been registered under Sections 171C (undue influence at elections) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Section 135 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, and 1988.
Faridabad which went to polls on Sunday along with seven other states saw a voter turnout of 64.48 per cent until 10 pm. In 2014 polls, the voting percentage was recorded at 64.98 per cent.
Spread over seven phases, Lok Sabha Elections, which began on April 11, will conclude on May 19. The results will be announced on May 23.