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4 poll personnel suspended in Assam for lift in BJP vehicle

Updated: Apr 6

Re-polling has been ordered at a booth in Ratabari Assembly constituency although EVMs were found intact

The Election Commission has suspended four polling personnel, including a presiding officer, and an armed escort officer, besides ordering re-poll at a booth in southern Assam’s Ratabari Assembly constituency after electronic voting machines (EVMs) were found in a vehicle linked to a BJP candidate contesting the adjoining Patharkandi seat.

Both constituencies are in Karimganj district.

Officials said the polling personnel were unaware they had — after their car broke down near Nilambazar, 20 km short of district headquarters Karimganj — taken a lift in a vehicle registered in the name of Madhumita Paul, the wife of Patharkandi BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul. The team was returning from 149-Indira MV School under the Ratabari constituency, about 70 km away.

The seals of the EVMs were found intact, but the EC decided to conduct a re-poll at the polling station concerned. The poll panel also sought a report from the special general observer, who found armed escort officer Luhit Gohain guilty of leaving the stranded polling party behind and not ensuring its safe arrival at destination.

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