Polling agents caught on camera casting votes in Andhra

April 25th, 2009 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, April 25 (IANS) Polling agents in two election booths in Andhra Pradesh’s Prakasam district were caught on camera while casting votes with the voters. A polling official was also seen advising a voter to cast his vote for the ruling Congress party, election officials said Saturday.
The state’s Chief Electoral Officer I.V. Subba Rao said that the agents of different parties went to voting compartments with the voters and cast the votes. “Some polling officials may also be involved,” he said.

Their acts were caught on closed circuit television cameras installed in the polling centres. They apparently had no knowledge of the cameras installed.

The incidents occurred in two polling centres in Kondukur assembly constituency in Prakasam district during the second phase of elections to Lok Sabha and state assembly Thursday.

Prakasam District Collector K. Devanand has directed the police to book criminal cases against all those involved and arrest them.

There were six polling officials and one agent from every major party in each polling booth.

The camera footage showed polling agents accompanying people to the voting compartments, where the voter alone should enter.

The agents were pressing buttons on electronic voting machines in the compartments while the voters, including women, were mere spectators.

In one polling booth, the official was seen showing his hand to a voter going towards compartment. He was apparently advising the voter to cast his vote for ‘hand’, the symbol of the Congress.

The Election Commission has ordered re-polling in both the polling centres along with 61 other centres Sunday.

Following the incidents, the election authorities have ordered installation of cameras in all 63 booths.

Prakasam was among 10 districts which went to polls in the second phase, covering 20 Lok Sabha and 150 assembly constituencies.

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