BJP candidate Hina triggers row after slapping poll officer
SRINAGAR: BJP candidate from Amira Kadal, Dr Hina
Bhat, triggered a row after she allegedly slapped a presiding officer, Malik
Suhail, inside a polling station at Chanapora, on the outskirts of the city,
during polling on Sunday. The presiding officer alleged that Bhat and her
supporters captured the booth for 15 minutes.
Bhat, however, accused the presiding officers of
helping the PDP candidate by casting “bogus” votes. Referring to the 1987 poll
defeat of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, then contesting as a Muslim
United Front candidate, she said, “I was very young at that time when elections
were rigged and Syed Salahuddin was made to lose. The same thing is happening
Speaking to The Indian Express, Bhat, who is seen as
the face of the BJP in Kashmir, said: “I caught two presiding officers at
Natipora and Chanapora casting bogus votes in favour of the PDP.’’
She alleged that besides her constituency, BJP polling
agents were not allowed to enter the polling stations in many other areas in
the Valley. “The officers delayed entry of BJP polling agents at many polling
stations to facilitate rigging. This was done to help the PDP, because it is a
direct fight between the PDP and BJP in Kashmir,’’ she said.
According to officials, when Bhat visited the Methan-A
polling station in Chanapora on Sunday morning, she accused the polling
officers of casting votes in favour of her opponents. She then reportedly
slapped the presiding officer in the presence of voters. This was followed by a
clash between her supporters, personal security officers and the voters who
were waiting outside the polling station.
“She slapped me for no reason,” said Suhail, adding
that Bhat’s supporters captured the booth for 15 minutes. He said that when
Bhat entered the polling station, he was showing some women voters how to use
the EVM. “Suddenly, the BJP candidate came and accused me of helping people to vote
for her rival party,” he said.
However, Bhat denied the charges. “Why should I slap
any official? The presiding officer and supporters of other parties attacked my
PSOs and workers. Two of the workers have been hospitalised are in a serious
condition,’’ she said. Bhat said the BJP has lodged a complaint with the poll
Police said they haven’t registered any case so far.
“We are ascertaining the facts… if the presiding officer approaches us, we will
register a case,” said police officials.
Reacting to the reports, PDP spokesperson Nayeem
Akhtar said: “This is a bad debut for the candidate and for the party in the