5 wards on 'sensitive' list of civic poll panel

Micro observers deployed in such areas

5 wards on 'sensitive' list of civic poll panel

Five out of the 13 municipal corporation wards where bypolls will be held on Sunday have been identified as “sensitive” by the State Election Commission, which is taking extra care to ensure peaceful polling.

Apart from round-the-clock videography of polling stations, the Commission has also recommended stronger police arrangement in the areas that may witness violence due to extreme competition between the rivals, said sources in the State Election Commission.

“We have deployed more micro observers in these wards. We are planning to do round-the-clock videography of the sensitive polling stations on the voting day (May 15),” said Rakesh Mehta, State Election Commissioner.

“We are anticipating keen contest in some of the wards,” Mehta told Deccan Herald.

Close watch
Sources said that the commission is keeping a close watch on the ward number 44 Quammruddin Nagar, ward number 67 Wazirpur and ward number 86 Ballimaran under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. “Even the two wards under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation – Jhilmil and Kichdipur – are under the scanner,” he added.

The civic byelections in Wazirpur is supposed to be interesting as the Swaraj Abhiyan, a group formed by the expelled leaders from the AAP Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, has elected a ‘people’s candidate’ Sujata Gupta to contest municipal polls from there.

Though backed by Swaraj Abhiyan, Gupta is contesting election as an independent candidate from Wazirpur.

The Swaraj Abhiyan alleged that its worker was beaten up by the opposition parties while he was canvassing for Gupta.

Even Ballimaran was the centre of a controversy with an independent candidate alleging that the State Election Commission has  modified his election symbol at the behest of the AAP.

The commission had to modify the election symbol as it looked ‘similar’ to that of the Aam Aadmi Party, alleged Abbas Siddiqui, who is contesting civic bypolls from Ballimaran as an independent candidate. He was initially allotted the ‘battery torch’ symbol which had beam coming out of it. The election symbol has been modified by removing the rays of light, said Siddiqui.

The State Election Commission has been getting complaints of poll code violations. Latest being an allegation by a BJP candidate that Delhi Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, an AAP legislator, had “misused” his official vehicle while canvassing for AAP candidate. Jhilmil ward’s BJP candidate Jitender Singh Shanty, who lost to Goel in the 2015 Assembly poll, had sent a video clip to the commission alleging violation of the model code of conduct.

The Commission said that the complaints have been looked into. “We have received a video clip but it doesn’t have a date on it. We are probing into the incident,” said Mehta.

Of the 13 wards going to polls, seven are in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, two in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation and four in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.
DH News Service

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