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MP Chief Electoral Officer suspends Postal Nodal officer in connection with opening of postal ballots in Balaghat

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Anupam Rajan on Tuesday said that a postal nodal officer was suspended in connection with opening postal ballots before counting of votes in Balaghat district.
The action was taken following the complaint of Congress party accusing the Balaghat District Election Officer of opening postal ballot votes before the counting day. The suspended official has been identified as Himmat Singh, who is posted as a tehsildar.
"No postal ballot votes were counted in Balaghat. The postal ballot votes were sorted according to the assembly constituencies and it was done in the presence of representatives of all political parties. Though a procedural error occurred there about opening the ballot box before time. It was opened before the due date. In view of which, a postal nodal officer and Tehsildar has been suspended," Rajan said.
A Congress delegation led by party election-in charge JP Dhanopia on Monday lodged a complaint to the State Election Commission, accusing the Balaghat District Election Officer of opening postal ballot votes before the counting day.
"There is a collusion between District Election Officer Girish Kumar Mishra and the local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA in Balaghat. Our candidate and supporters reached the spot and made this video. Earlier, our state president Kamal Nath had feared such irregularities. We have complained today and have been assured of action after investigation," Madhya Pradesh Congress Election-in-charge JP Dhanopia said speaking to ANI on Monday.
Meanwhile, reacting to the allegation of the political parties that the government employees and officials were not allowed to vote, Rajan said that about 3.23 lakhs government employees exercised their franchise in the state in this state assembly elections.
"In this state assembly polls, about 3.23 lakh government employees have casted their votes through postal ballot and EDC (Election Duty Certificate). Besides, the voting of police personnel in Khandwa district, which took place a day after the polling date in the state, has been invalidated by the Election Commission," he added.
Talking about the preparation for the counting of votes in the state on December 3, the officer said that the counting would be held at all the district headquarters and concrete arrangements were made for the same.
"Counting of votes will take place in all the district headquarters on December 3 and the concrete arrangements have been made for the same. Central forces and police will be there on the spot and there are no worries about security arrangements in the state," he added.
Earlier Congress State President Kamal Nath urged the electoral officers to work impartially during the critical counting on December 3.
"I would like to remind all the officers and employees involved in the election process that at present they are working under the Election Commission, which is an autonomous body separate from the Government of Madhya Pradesh. At present they are not working under any party or minister. Therefore, all officers and employees are requested not to follow any unconstitutional or illegal order and do only that work which is their administrative responsibility. The report of the functioning of every officer and employee is available to the public. I also urge Congress workers to be prepared for the toughest struggle for their constitutional rights. On December 3, the public will approve the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Therefore, they should engage in their work without any conflict" Kamal Nath said.
Voting for the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly took place on November 17 with a 77.15 percent voter turnout and counting will be done on December 3.

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