A journalist from The Times of India was reportedly heckled and threatened by the local police in Rajasthan's Jaipur when he objected to a polling officer forcing people to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Narrating the incident in a report published on the media house's website, Siddhartha Dutta said that he was touring election booths in the city when he visited Adarsh Nagar poll booth number 101 and found voters complaining about election malpractices.
The voters, in a Muslim majority area, told the reporter that apart from the usual problems like malfunctioning Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), or names being left off the electoral roll, there was one particular polling officer who was forcing voters to press the button number 1, ascribed to the BJP.
The irate voters were shouting outside the booth when the reporter reached there and heard their problems.
He tried to intervene in the situation, pointing out that the conduct of the polling officer was outright wrong. However, to his surprise, the local Station House Officer Raj Kumar Sharma heckled him and threatened to throw him behind bars. Dutta said he had taken the due press permissions to enter polling booths for the purpose of reporting.
The matter was resolved after the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), Gaurav Yadav came and heard the reporter's complaint. Although the polling officer was removed from duty, no action was taken against the SHO.
This comes in the backdrop of a host of problems being reported from the state which polled on Friday. The Election Commission ordered the removal of returning officer of Pali in the Rajasthan Assembly seat after an EVM was reportedly found at the residence of a BJP candidate. A video purportedly showing the electronic voting machine laying unattended in the house had gone viral.
Earlier in the day, the poll panel had said that a sector officer carrying a reserve machine had gone to the BJP candidate's house following which the sector officer was removed and the EVM taken out of election system.
The police reported a few clashes among supporters but said that polling across the 51,687 booths was largely peaceful. Special DG (law and order) NRK Reddy said that ITBP jawans opened fire in the air to disperse a mob trying to enter a booth at a village in Alwar's Mundawar constituency.
A jeep was torched outside a booth in Bikaner and a motorcycle set on fire near another in Sikar but polling remained unaffected, police said. Results will be declared on 11 December, along with those from the four other states that went to the polls during the past weeks.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Dec 08, 2018 14:06 PM