Counting @ Islamabad: Congress Protests, Process Halts After Round 1

Congress contestants walking out of the counting hall
Congress contestants walking out of the counting hall

Aakash Hassan



Counting of votes was halted in Islamabad after the Congress protested over, what it called, unsealed EVMs. The Round one witnessed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti way ahead of her rivals.

Officials announcing the outcome of the maiden round said Ms Mufti polled 1826 votes and her immediate rival Congress had 516 votes. NC had 301 and all others in the fray had secured votes in 2-digits. Even 40 votes were counted as NOTA – neither of the above.

Congress contestant Hilal Shah who is considered to be the main rival to the powerful PDP candidate alleged that an EVM was not properly sealed and should not be counted at all, a demand the election officials refused. In the first round, the migrant votes were being counted. In retaliation, he walked out of the hall along with all his agents and colleagues. Right now, he is protesting on the main road outside the counting hall.

The counting of votes started at 8 am in the state run degree college at Khanabal. Massive security arrangements are visible within and outside the premises.

Ruling PDP is represented by Sajjad Mufti. All other candidates have their representatives in and around the hall.

Elections to the Islamabad assembly seat were held early this week. Though the constituency had more than 80,000 electors, the area witnessed modest polling – only 33% plus could report to the polling booths and vote.

The seat fell vacant after former Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed passed away in AIIMS in January. Ms Mufti succeeded him but is mandated to get elected. Once she is elected, she will resign from South Kashmir Lok Sabha seat which will witness a new election later this year.


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