CHANDIGARH: Haryana Vidhan Sabha Secretary and Returning Officer for the recently-held Rajya Sabha polls for the two seats in the state today said a sketch pen had been provided to the legislators to mark their votes and the entire process was videographed.
Returning Officer R K Nandal said the results were declared late in the night on Saturday after due permission from the Election Commission. Notably, Congress today approached the Election Commission to demand countermanding of the election to both Rajya Sabha seats from Haryana, alleging a "conspiracy" by BJP-RSS that led to the defeat of a candidate, backed by the party and the main opposition INLD, under controversial circumstances.
The INLD also shot off a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner today, saying the party is convinced that the matter calls for a thorough inquiry and it is in the interest of democracy to get to the bottom of the truth. Nandal said that the polling and counting of votes had been videographed.
"On part of the Assembly and Assembly Secretariat the videography was done. The results were declared with due permission of the Election Commission," Nandal told PTI.
He said in addition to the staff of the Assembly secretariat, officials from the Election Commission were also present in the room where polling was taking place in one corner.
"Haryana's Chief Electoral Officer was the lead observer. Besides, Additional CEO from the state was also present along with him right from 8 AM to 11 PM on Saturday," he said.
Asked to comment on allegations being made by opposition parties that someone had changed the original pen provided by the election officials with another one for a while which resulted in some votes being declared as invalid, Nandal said, "I cannot comment on what political parties or individual MLAs are saying."
At the same time, he said, "We had arranged a pen, which was tied to a thread. It was a sketch pen with violet ink, with which all 90 MLAs were supposed to mark their voting preference. We had also written a letter to all 90 MLAs on June 8 explaining in detail the instructions on how to vote. They were told that they could mark their votes with this pen only". Nandal also said that members were registering their vote in one corner where the pen had been kept tied to a thread.
"I cannot comment on allegations that somebody changed the pen. This is not for me to comment. The MLAs could register their votes in one corner, and no one could go there expect those marking their votes," he said.