Ghulam Nabi Azad writes to EC about Haryana minister’s ‘booth capturing’ attempts

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Ghulam Nabi Azad. File

Rohtak, May 14: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has written to the Election Commission of India accusing Haryana’s Minister of State for Cooperatives Manish Grover of booth capturing when the state voted in the sixth phase of general elections on May 12.  

He said in his letter to the Election Commission that he was “shocked” at the “brazen attempt” at booth capturing. “I was completely shocked to hear the set of circumstances enumerated before me by the delegation. l have seen the videos shown to me by the delegation, l was completely taken aback by the brazen misuse of muscle power by Shri Manish Grover, Minister of State Government of Haryana, along with fifty goons and a history sheeter namely Ramesh Lohar, in 10 cars who were carrying Arms, 2 fake number plates, 15 cartridges of .32 bore entered in Booth no. 142, 143, 145, 146, 149, 150 of Rohtak City in 7-Rohtak Parliamentary Constituency along with the official Police Commandos in order to sabotage and influence the ongoing polling for Parliamentary Elections in Rohtak City.” 

He said that lack of appropriate action sent out the “wrong signal” to voters.    “It is also surprising that even after such a brazen misuse of power in order to terrorize the whole polling process of election by entering the polling booth with fifty armed goons, no action till date has been taken against Sh. Manish Grover as a result of which it has sent a wrong signal to the voters of Haryana,” his letter said.  

Azad is the All India Congress Committee general secretary who’s in charge of Haryana.  The Congress accused Grover of forcibly entering polling booths and intimidating voters on May 12.  Election authorities had restricted Grover’s movements until election ended after Congress complained.  Here is the full text of his letter.  

“A delegation of local leaders from the District Congress Committee Rohtak met me today evening as I was busy in campaigning for Parliamentary Electionsin Uttar Pradesh (Eastern) and returned to New Delhi only in the evening today. I am the General Secretary in charge of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee. I was completely shocked to hear the set of circumstances enumerated before me by the delegation.

l have seen the videos shown to me by the delegation, l was completely taken aback by the brazen misuse of muscle power by Shri Manish Grover, Minister of State Government of Haryana, along with fifty goons and a history sheeter namely Ramesh Lohar, in 10 cars who were carrying Arms, 2 fake number plates, 15 cartridges of .32 bore entered in Booth no. 142, 143, 145, 146, 149, 150 of Rohtak City in 7-Rohtak Parliamentary Constituency along with the official Police Commandos in order to sabotage and influence the ongoing polling for Parliamentary Elections in Rohtak City.

The Additional Director General of Police, Haryana tweeted about the same from his official twitter account. A copy of the same is enclosed with this memorandum. Several complaints have been already made to ECl along with videos, bringing to your kind notice the terror atmosphere created during the ongoing polling on 12.5.2019. A complete set of complaints made by the election agent of Shri Deepender Singh Hooda, Congress Candidate along with a USB drive containing the videos of the incident are enclosed for your kind perusal. 

A HR was registered vide no. 0287 of 2019 Police station Shivaji Colony. Rohtak. against Ramesh Lohar along with one other under sections 25,5459 of. the Arms Act 1959 and sections 34, 188, 420, 483 of lPC. Ramesh Lohar was arrested from the spot on 12.05.2019 from the place of occurrence itself, but was surprisingly and shockingly released on 13.05.2019 by granting him police bail under the influence of the present incumbent BIP Govt of Haryana without even producing him in the court It is also surprising that even after such a brazen misuse of power in order to terrorize the whole polling process of election by entering the polling booth with fifty armed goons, no action till date has been taken against Sh. Manish Grover as a result of which it has sent a wrong signal to the voters of Haryana. 

In view of the above, I hereby request with all humility at my command that incase no action is taken against such acts against the Minister of State, it will be a murder of democracy. The exemplary situation requires stringent action by CEC.Alleged ‘booth-capturing’ by Haryana Minister of State for Cooperatives Manish Grover along with musclemen at Rohtak on polling day snowballs into a major row, with AICC general secretary and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad writing to the Chief Election Commissioner of India, demanding stringent action against Minister Grover.”