An FIR was filed today against BJP candidate from Shopian Javed Ahmad Qadri, who was caught on camera thrashing a man in a polling booth, while another party nominee Hina Bhat allegedly slapped an election official claiming irregularities.
The two incidents involving the BJP nominees were reported as polling in the fourth phase of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections involving 18 constituencies remained by and large remained peaceful.
An FIR has been lodged after an election agent of an Independent alleged that he was manhandled by a BJP candidate in Shopian district inside the polling station, Election Commission officials said in Srinagar and Delhi.
With regard to alleged slapping of a polling official by BJP’s Amirakadal candidate Hina Bhat, Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narula said he has asked the district election officer to investigate the matter and submit a report.
“Once the report is submitted, we will decide the next course of action,” he told reporters in Srinagar.
Qadri was booked after he thrashed an unidentified man claiming he had entered the polling booth without a voter slip at Moochwad in Shopian district where polling was underway.
The BJP candidate accused the PDP and National Conference workers of committing malpractices in the elections.
“The workers of the PDP and National Conference have been doing this for the last 60 years,” he alleged after the incident which was caught on tape.
In the second incident, Bhat entered into a heated argument with polling staff at a voting booth in Chanapora area of Amirakadal constituency.
Eyewitnesses alleged that Bhat slapped a polling official but she denied it and claimed that she had sought action against the official as he was indulging in alleged election malpractices inside the booth.
“Our polling agents were not allowed inside the premises for nearly two hours. I visited the polling station to seek an explanation from the officials.
“When I reached the Chanapora polling station, I found the presiding officer was near the EVM with a woman voter to which I objected, leading to an argument,” she said.
Bhat claimed the polling officials beat up one of her workers, who has been hospitalised.
Bhat said that she has complained to the Election Commission over the conduct of the presiding officer and sought repolling.
“I am not apologising if they are doing something wrong. I think I should have slapped him,” she said, as National Conference and PDP leaders condemned the incidents.
“The BJP candidate in Srinagar who earlier threatened to pick up a gun over (abrogation of) Art(icle) 370 now slaps a polling officer. Well done,” Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the BJP candidates had no right to assault anyone.