Anantnag: All opposition parties including National Conference boycotted counting after allegations that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were tampered with. Candidates demanded cancellation of by-polls.
Mehbooba Muftis nearest rival Hilal Ahmad Shah, a Congress candidate Saturday alleged that the bogus votes were being counted in the name of postal ballots leading to a brief disruption in the counting of votes.
However, the counting resumed immediately even as dozens of supporters of Shah shouted anti-government slogans and protested over “unsealed” postal ballots.
Shah alleged that postal ballots were “not properly sealed and were basically bogus votes”.
Protesting inside the polling centre, Mr Hilal said, “Machines were without seal and signatures on them didn’t match. It’s a brazen election rigging by ruling party and administration is party to this rigging.”
“When we raised our voice the district magistrate threatened to put us behind the bars,” said the Congress candidate as he stormed out of the centre.
Denying allegations, District Magistrate Abid Rashid Shah, who is also district election officer, said, “They tried to break an EVM and when we tried to discipline them they started protesting.”
The returning officer refused to entertain his protest, leading to a ruckus inside the counting hall of Government Degree College, Anantnag and disruption in the vote count. The counting resumed shortly after the Congress activists walked out but continued their protest in the lawns of the college.
PDP leaders termed the protest as “frustration of defeat”.
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