Though officials on poll duty during training sessions were specifically asked to be unbiased – whatever be their political affiliation – there allowed their party loyalty to get the better of their judgment and that caused unnecessary problems in the civic polls, said JACTO-GEO state executive committee member SN Janardhanan.
Incidents in Vellore, Tirupattur and Ranipet districts exposed this behaviour of officials and the latest incident bearing testimony to this is the suspension of Alangayam BDO and election officer Sivakumar for reportedly allowing cadre of the Dravidian parties to enter the counting centre even as the EO was present.
“Though he (EO) had powers to order the police to remove them from the venue, he did not do so and hence he was suspended,” Collector Amar Kuswaha told DT Next. The tussle between cadre of DMK and AIADMK also went up a notch due to the presence of Jolarpet DMK MLA S Devaraji.
In Vellore’s Anaicut PU, polling officer Mary was removed from the premises by local officials when it was found that in the guise of helping the elderly and infirm to cast the vote, she was marking the ballots in favour of the candidates of her choice. An elderly voter, who noticed this, raised the issue leading to her removal from the booth.
In Ranipet district, the issue of the polling officer at the booth for wards 6 and 8 at Melapulam in Nemili PU, folding the ballot paper so that the stamp fell on two symbols led to locals agitating for more than 6 hours.