Confusion prevailed for around an hour at one of the polling booths of Patparganj constituency in East Delhi as the policemen stopped people from entering the polling booth with cellphones.
While some voters expressed anger and got into heated argument with the officials on duty, others chose to return home in anger.
“This is nonsense. I have walked almost a kilometre to come here and now they are saying I can’t enter because I am carrying cellphone. If that is the case the election commission must have issued public advertisement about it,” said Arvind Gaur.
While the election commission banned the use of mobile phones in the polling station premises, voters on other booths were being allowed with their cellphones on switch-off mode. Some of the voters chose to return without voting.
“They are neither allowing us to enter the booth with phone, nor are they depositing it with them,” said another voter. However, the policemen on duty said they were just following the rules.
“Initially, all voters were allowed to enter the premises with phones. I received an order from my bosses to stop people with cellphone from entering the booth,” said the Inspector in-charge of security at the Ahlcon Public school booth. The matter was later resolved.
Home Guards get no time to relax
Several Home Guards who were posted at the polling booths across the city complained of step-brotherly treatment. A Home Guard posted at Mukherjee Nagar school said he has been on duty since 9 pm from Saturday night and would only go home after the EVMs are sealed and taken away.
“We have no problems with long duty hours but at least we should get food on time. I am here since 9 pm and have not moved from this door. There was no breakfast in the morning while lunch was given only at 2 pm,” a home guard said.
Similar complaint was heard from a Home Guard in Nehru Vihar School. He said he had not received tea since the last four hours. However, the Delhi police officials posted at these booths refuted this.
“They are liars. We gave them food, water and tea before we took any,” said a Head
Constable of Delhi police. He was posted at the gates and demanded to know who complained.
EC gets more than 600 complaints
The Election Commission Helpline on Sunday received more than 600 enquires/ complaints from voters as well as party men. While voters mostly enquired about location of their booths or missing names voter’s list, several party men complained about the rival party trying to influence the voters outside the polling stations.
A call from Jama Masjid area was received mid-afternoon where in the caller alleged the rival political party of influencing the voters outside a polling station by distributing pamphlets. Another person from outer Delhi complained that a Delhi police constable who is also husband of one of the contestants is sitting inside the booth and trying to influence the voters.
People also called EC blaming them for the mistakes in the voter’s list at a Karawal Nagar booth. A young voter also reached the EC complaining that he was not given the option of “Right to Reject” by the polling agents. According to Election Commission, these matters were dealt with immediately after informing the concerned Returning Officer.
EVMs malfunction at several booths
Several incidents of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) developing malfunctions or reaching late at the polling stations were also reported on Sunday.
According to information, polling started late in one of the polling stations in Shalimar Bagh because the polling officials with EVMs arrived late.
EVM malfunction was reported from a booth in Okhla, Nehru Nagar, Moti Nagar, Ballimaran, Sarita Vihar, Narela, Mandwali, Majnu ka Tila, Sadar Bazaar besides many others. While they were rectified soon after and replaced in many cases, the people who were held up in queues used the opportunity to shout slogans and bad mouth the system.
Women were not far behind in such matters. Some ladies at one of the booths in Majnu Ka Tila area got into an argument with a female Delhi police inspector. We don’t have the whole day to vote she said. Some spare EVMs should have been kept ready for such a situation she added.
MP’s name missing from voters’ list
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pervez Hashmi was in for a rude shock when he went to vote along with his family on Sunday. On reaching the polling station in Okhla constituency, the former Delhi minister was initially surprised and then angry when presiding officer told him that his name was missing from the voter’s list.
Coming out disappointed from the booth, Hashmi blamed the Delhi CM for such negligence. “It is the Chief ministers mistake and I will take up the matter with the Congress High Command,” said Hashmi while speaking to media persons.
However, when one of them pointed out that CM does not go through the voter’s list and that it is the election commission’s job, Hashmi shot back saying who over is responsible should be punished.
Delhi Health Minister A K Walia won many a fan when shunning away his privileges, queued up outside a polling booth in Preet Vihar area of east Delhi. There is nothing new about waiting in line for voting since he has always done this in the past, said Walia.