‘Sabotage’ keeps Arunachal voters off booth

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GUWAHATI, MAY 7: A JD (U) candidate in Arunachal Pradesh has accused rival BJP workers of destroying a suspension bridge across a mountain stream to cut off the access of more than 600 voters to a polling station. Voting at the Gimba polling station under the Tali Assembly constituency in the State’s Kra-Daadi district could not be held on April 11 due to a combination of violence and faulty EVMs. The State Election Department ordered a re-polling there on April 27. “There are 2 roads to Gimba, and one is from district headquarters Tali. Prior to the re-poll, BJP workers hijacked the polling officials including the returning officer and diverted them to Dotte, a village across the stream from Gimba village,” Jikke Tako, the JD (U) candidate from Tali told The Hindu. As the polling station meant for the voters of Gimba was set up at Dotte, a suspension bridge connecting the 2 villages was damaged preventing the voters from going across to vote. Hence the re-poll could not be conducted, alleged Jikke Tako, the JD (U) candidate from Tali.
Blaming his BJP rival Thaji Gichak Kiogi for “snatching the voting rights” of the people of Gimba, Jikke demanded immediate restoration of the suspension bridge as well as re-poll. “The Gimba voters are still waiting to exercise their franchise. The re-polling there has to be done under the Army’s watch,” he said.
The BJP denied any foul play while the State’s Chief Electoral Officer Kaling Tayeng and his deputy Kangki Darrang did not take calls.
Election to 60 Assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh was held simultaneously with 2 Lok Sabha constituencies on April 11. The results are due on May 23.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)