Ahead of re-poll in 38 polling stations in central Kashmir's Budgam district of Srinagar parliamentary constituency on Thursday, the opposition National Conference expressed "serious apprehensions and concerns" about the "rigging of elections by the government."
A NC leader told Greater Kashmir that they have written to the Election Commission of India to "safeguard and uphold integrity" of the electoral process and ensure that adequate measures are taken in this direction.
A delegation of senior party leaders led by General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar also met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shantmanu and put on record "serious apprehensions and concerns" about the electoral process ahead of a re-poll and sought safeguards to uphold integrity of the electoral process.
Talking to this newspaper, Sagar said they have raised apprehensions about "rigging of elections by the Government", with the CEO and complained about change of the staff at several polling booths "at the behest of the PDP."
"The deferment of the by-polls in Anantnag already shows how that Election Commission is taking sides in the electoral process. We have sought that polls should be held in a transparent manner so that people don't lose trust in the election process," said Sagar.
The election authorities, Sagar said, assured them that the entire electoral process would be video-recorded and there would be micro-monitoring at every booth.
The National Conference President and three-time Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah, is contesting the LS-bypolls to stage a comeback and is fighting against the PDP candidate Nazir Ahmad Khan. The bypolls for the seat, spread over three districts, Budgam, Srinagar and Ganderbal, were held on April 9. After massive protests and reports of snatching of Electronic Voting Machines at several booths, the ECI ordered re-polling at 38 polling stations.
Meanwhile, the NC spokesman Junaid Mattu said: "We are apprehensive that the Government as was the case during bypolls on April 9 may use the re-poll on Thursday as an opportunity to rig the process and that is why the party took up the matter with the ECI and the Chief Electoral Officer."