Villagers protest ghost polling, scuffle with police

Bhawanipatna: Tension ran high at Siripur booth under Zilla Parishad Zone-4 of Bhawanipatna block in Kalahandi district after irate locals scuffled with the policemen and polling officials alleging ghost polling in the polling booth in their area.

As soon as counting began at 1 PM after conclusion of the third phase Panchayat polls, the polling agents representing respective political parties present at the counting found that as against the total number of 800 voters in Siripur booth, there were excess 300 votes inside the ballot box.

Protesting the incident, irate locals gheraoed the presiding officer and the polling officer.

As the police patrolling team tried to take away the ballot box after intervening in the matter, a scuffle ensued. The irate locals beat up some policemen and the polling officer and damaged the patrolling van.

Following information, Sadar SDPO rushed to the booth with additional police force and took stock of the situation.

“After collecting the ballot box from the booth, the police patrol team was about to move along with the polling officer when some people suddenly pelted stones from behind and attacked the polling officer with sticks. After receiving information, I rushed to the spot with additional forces and brought the situation under control, Bhawanipatna Sadar SDPO Biranchi Prasad Dehuri told media persons.

He said the situation is under tense but under control. “Police force has been deployed in and around Siripur village to ward off any untoward incident,” he added.

Admitting that there has been ghost polling, he said the villagers have demanded repolling in this booth. “We have informed the district Superintendent of Police while the local Tehsildar and BDO are aware of this incident. Repolling would be conducted in this booth if the district administration recommends the concerned authority”, he pointed out.