Goa Congress accuses poll officials of partiality

Panaji, Feb 20 (IANS) The Congress on Monday alleged that serial numbers of postal ballots were leaked to the BJP by poll officials and demanded the urgent scrapping of the ongoing postal ballot voting.

Addressing the media, Congress Secretary Girish Chodankar also said that government servants were being threatened in several constituencies, allegedly by candidates fielded by the BJP or their kin, into voting for them.

“We have received complaints from at least four to five constituencies in South Goa that BJP candidates, their wives or kin are threatening government servants to vote for the BJP. We are filing a representation with the Election Commission,” Chodankar said.

“Postal ballot serial numbers, which are meant to be a secret, have been leaked to the BJP by poll officials in Goa. BJP workers are calling up government servants telling them that they have the serial numbers of their postal ballots and that they are in a position to identify which party the particular government servant has voted for,” Chodankar said.

He refused to name the constituencies in which government servants were allegedly threatened. “We will inform the ECI about the same.”

Around 17,590 government servants and police personnel, who were responsible for conducting of the February 4 assembly polls, are eligible to cast postal vote before 8 a.m. on March 11 when the vote will be counted.

Political parties including the Aam Aadmi Party, Goa Forward, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Congress have alleged large-scale rigging of the postal ballot.

Chodankar on Monday demanded the scrapping of the postal ballot system, adding that the Election Commission would be requested to conduct regular EVM voting for government servants on a fixed day.