EC puts onus on Army on postal ballots issue

Last Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012 - 16:15

Dehra Dun: As the war of words escalate between BJP and Congress over the postal-ballot issue in Uttarakhand, the Election Commission has put the onus on the Army for the large number of undelivered postal ballots. "For all the undelivered postal ballots, it is the
responsibility of the Army to ascertain the reasons," said a
top official of the election commission here.

"For all the undelivered postal ballots, it is the
responsibility of the Army to ascertain the reasons," said a
top official of the election commission here.

"Before the counting of votes takes place, the election
commission must tell the reasons behind the undelivered postal
ballots which are around 25985," said Satish Lakhera, state
BJP spokesman.

This time, over 1.19 lakh people, including one lakh army
personnel, are casting their votes through ballot papers, a
process which would continue till 8 AM of March 6 when the
counting of votes takes place.

Experts said the postal ballots could play a crucial role
in as many as 20 constituencies out of the total 70 in the
hill state where the elections are fought on the wafer-thin
margins.

The polling was held on January 30. Since the time period
between the polling and the counting is very long, the
election commission is expecting the polling percentage of the
postal ballots to be heavy.

Early this week, Chief Minister BC Khanduri had also
asked the election commission to order a probe into the
undelivered postal ballots, which he claimed are around 50 percent.

Meanwhile, Congress has slammed the BJP for taking up the
postal ballot issue claiming that it shows that the ruling
party`s anxiety on the poll outcome.

"The BJP knows that it has already lost the race. So it
is enacting the drama to distract the people`s attention from
real issues," said Surendra Kumar, a state Congress spokesman.

In the past, Congress had alleged that postal ballots had
marred the chances of their candidates including that of
senior Congress leader Satpal Maharaj in the 2008 Pauri Lok
Sabha by-election.

Political observers believe that the contest in at least
10 to 15 seats is going to be very close between the main
parties like Congress and BJP.

Since rebels are also playing spoilsports for party
candidates, the contest is arising more curiosity.

BJP in this election has projected Khanduri as its next
chief minister, who is a retired major general of the army to
take advantage of the ballots of the army personnel.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 26, 2012 - 16:15

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