Allegations of booth capture and Election Commission announcement of re-polling in Gujarat's Dahood

A BJP MP's son was arrested on May 7 for going live on Instagram from a polling booth in Gujarat's Dahood.

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In the widely circulated video, Vijay Bhabhoor is reportedly heard saying in Gujarati, “A machine is not your father (The car is my father's). He then says, “Only one thing works, and that is the BJP,” before pressing the button on the EVM.


In a major decision, the Election Commission (EC) on Saturday, May 11, issued directions for re-polling at Prathampur polling station under the Dahod Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat, where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) son Vijay Bubhur ) MP and former Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Jaswant Singh Bhabhoor allegedly tried to take over the polling booth, engaged in fraudulent voting, and live-streamed the entire incident on Instagram from inside the booth.

The post was later deleted and two people, including Vijay Bhabhoor, were arrested.

Polling for 25 out of 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat took place on Tuesday, May 7, in the third phase of the general elections.

According to data released by the EC on Tuesday night, the voter turnout in Gujarat's 25 Lok Sabha constituencies was just 58.98 percent, a significant drop of over 5.5 percent from the 2019 figure. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat, the voter turnout was 64.11%.

BJP MP's son went live from the booth

In the widely circulated video, Vijay Bhabhoor is reportedly heard saying in Gujarati, “A machine is not your father (The car is my father's). He then says, “Only one thing works, and that is the BJP,” before pressing the button on the EVM.

The video then shows Bhubhar focusing the camera on EVMs and a VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machine, demanding five to ten minutes from a poll official to leave. It has been said. He further claims that “only BJP works here”. His colleague Magan Damoor was also seen in the video.

Additionally, Bhadhur is also seen urging people to press the “Lotus Button”, which represents the BJP.

A First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against him and Damur based on a complaint by Santrampur Mamlatdar IP Pathan, who is also the Additional Electoral Registration Officer.

“We registered an FIR, and both the people have been arrested and are in our custody. The man came to cast his vote, and then he started it all. He was in the booth at 5:49 p.m. entered, while the closing time is 6 p.m.,” Mahi Sagar Superintendent of Police Jaideep Singh Jadeja told The Quint.

The charges against him include Sections 171D (person during election), 188 (disobedience to order issued by a public servant) and 114 (presentation in case of offence) and Section 128 (maintenance of secrecy) of the Indian Penal Code 1860. Included. Voting), 131 (penalty for misconduct in or near polling stations), 132 (penalty for misconduct at polling station), and 135 (removal of ballot papers from polling stations) under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Jadeja, however, said that the incident was not a genuine case of booth capture.

“He wanted to show off and pull this stunt. It wasn't like he captured the booth by muscle power. He did it for show. The real form of booth capturing is when the 5-10 This is not an example of men coming and threatening and attacking voters,” Jadeja explained.

Congress party spokesperson Manish Doshi disagreed and said the police were trying to save face. He said that if it was only bogus voting, the Election Commission would not have ordered re-polling.

Doshi feels that Bhadhur will be released soon as he is the son of a BJP leader.

“As the son of a BJP politician, does he have the right to do whatever he wants? And he couldn't have done it without the BJP's backing. He was fearless because he knew that such There are people who will protect him. I am not sure if any proper action will be taken against them,” he said.


A past controversy involving MP Bhabhoor

However, this is not the first time BJP MP Jaswant Singh Bhabhoor or his family have been targeted. On March 25 last year, Bhabhoor was seen sharing the stage with Shailesh Bhatt, one of the 11 convicts in the 2002 Balquis Banu gang rape and murder case. His brother Shailesh Bhai Bhabhoor, BJP MLA from Lamkheda was also on the stage.

The Dawood Lok Sabha constituency became a reserved seat for the Scheduled Tribe (ST) in 1967, and the Congress held it for nine consecutive terms from 1967 to 1999, until the BJP won twice in 1999 and 2004. Took In 2009, Congress candidate Prabha Tavyad defeated Somaji Damur. In 2014 and 2019, the BJP won again with Jaswant Singh Bhabhoor as its candidate.

In the 2022 Gujarat Assembly elections, the BJP won all seven assembly seats from the Dahood constituency, including Devgarh Baria, where there was a seat-sharing agreement between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Following the alleged booth grabbing incident, Congress candidate for Dahood, Prabhabin Taviad, filed a complaint against Bhabhoor with the district collector and district election officer on May 8. Taveed urged the Election Commission to take strict legal action against Bhabhoor, polling staff and police personnel stationed at the booth.

Doshi claimed that the Election Commission and the police took no action until the video went viral on social media — at which point Bhabhoor and his accomplice were arrested and four election officials, including a presiding officer, were arrested. , one assistant presiding officer, two polling officers, and one police constable were suspended.

Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer P Bharti then sent a report to the EC, declaring the voting at the polling station on May 7 invalid under Section 58, Sub-section 2 of the Representation of the People Act. Fresh polling was scheduled on May 11 at the polling station from 7 am to 6 pm.

Other alleged crimes were reported in Dahoud.

According to Doshi, Congress polling agents filed two separate complaints with Santrampur police about similar incidents of alleged bogus voting in around 15 polling stations under Gothab taluk panchayat.

A Congress polling agent from Gothi village claimed that the arrested duo beat him up and threatened him with dire consequences. Indian Express described

The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) filed complaints with the EC during the third phase of polling on May 7, alleging that BJP polling agents and polling officers allegedly carried BJP symbols with them. Breached the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by using a pen.

Opposition leaders like Doshi claim that the BJP is using voter suppression tactics to win more seats. He said that while “anti-social” groups tried to block the voting process in some areas, BJP members allegedly “intimidated” Muslim and Dalit voters in Ahmedabad. “Wherever they think people will vote against them, they use such suppression tactics,” he alleged.

Six hundred kilometers west of Dahood, in Gujarat's Dwarka district, at least 575 Muslim fishermen from Gandhvi and Navadra villages were unable to vote on May 7 because their ghettos were demolished for port expansion. The names were removed from the voter list.

On the same day, India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, was hit by allegations of police violence in the Muslim-majority Sambhal constituency, including police action against Muslim voters and confiscation of their identity cards to prevent them from voting. There are reports to be made. At a school in Sambhal's Oberi village where polling was taking place, police were allegedly seen chasing voters and beating them with sticks.

'EC's attitude is suspicious'

Meanwhile, Doshi criticized the police for allegedly failing to intervene to stop Bhabur from “occupying the booth” and termed the EC's behavior as “suspicious”.

“The responsibility of the EC is to ensure that free and fair elections are held and that every voter gets a chance to exercise their right to vote. However, the EC should have responded appropriately to our concerns, but it deliberately did so. Not doing.” They said.

Doshi claims that he received responses only to minor complaints related to EVM malfunctions and that complaints of voter suppression were rarely responded to.

The Election Commission has been repeatedly criticized for its alleged failure to address hate speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party leaders and for delaying the release of voting data – leading to alleged Doubts have arisen regarding vote tampering.

Quint BJP Gujarat state president Chandrakant Raghunath Patil contacted about the allegations leveled against his party and the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat, but there was no response from either of them.

Meanwhile, Doshi says party workers were on high alert for today's repoll. “You never know what they'll try next.”

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