J&K polls: BJP candidate slaps election official, another thrashes man

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BJP candidate from Shopian Javed Ahmad Qadri was on Sunday caught on camera assaulting a man in a polling booth, while another candidate Hina Bhat allegedly slapped an election official claiming irregularities.

Qadri thrashed an unidentified man claiming he had entered the polling booth without a voter slip at Moochwad in south Kashmir Shopian district where polling was underway in the fourth phase.

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.

District Election Officer of Shopian Bashir Ahmad Bhat said, “If such a thing (incident) has happened, action under law will be taken against him.”

In another incident, BJP candidate from Amirakadal Hina Bhat entered into a heated argument with polling staff at a polling station in Chanapora area of the constituency.

Eyewitnesses alleged that Hina Bhat slapped a polling official but she denied it and claimed that she had sought action against the official as he was indulging in election malpractices inside the booth.

“Our polling agents were not allowed inside the premises for nearly two hours. I visited the polling stations 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.

Hina 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.

“They have no right to slap anyone, whatever may be the reason. These incidents are highly condemnable and unfortunate,” Mehbooba said.

District Election Officer, Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Shah said, “There was an altercation between the candidate and some polling staff but the issue has been resolved and the candidate has left the polling station.”

There were also clashes between National Conference and Lok Janshakti Party supporters in Habbakadal constituency in the city but Shah said it was not a major incident.

“Heated arguments do take place but there was no law and order problem. Voting across the district is going on smoothly,” he added.

18 constituencies spread over three districts of Kashmir, including summer capital Srinagar, and one district in Jammu region went to polls today.