View of polling. Image credit - UB Photos

Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) spokesperson Jacob Khaling has asserted that the post-poll survey by a team in name of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi in the state was totally violation of a notification of the Election Commission of India and model code of conduct.

Khaling on Wednesday stated that few questions in the survey were totally ‘anti-national’ and violated the secrecy of the vote of the people.

He also stated that such survey has created a situation of panic in the state.

The SKM party teams caught some groups of university students doing post-poll survey in the name of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in different parts of the state on Tuesday.

After filing a complaint about the survey, the Sadar police here detained three lecturers on Tuesday but released them on Wednesday after taking their written explanations on the matter.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Khaling stated, “The survey was total violation of the notification of the Election Commission of India which stated that conducting of any exit poll and publishing or publicising by any means between 7 am of April 11 to 6:30 pm of May 19 have been prohibited.”

He mentioned that the secrecy of vote was the spirit of the democracy but the questions in the survey paper have been set up in such a way that it directly violates the secrecy of votes.

Khaling also mentioned that the Election Commission has been spending crores of rupees to maintain the secrecy of votes but the questions in the survey to the people on whom they have voted were totally against the secrecy of vote.

Khaling informed that each student has been paid Rs 3,000 who went for the survey to West Sikkim and Rs 2,000 to students for survey in East Sikkim.

He stated that as per information, CSDS has not issued any fund so far for the survey.

The SKM spokesman also raised question over the source of such huge money for the survey by engaging 800 students.

Also read: Sikkim: SKM to deploy party volunteers at strong room venues

He demanded for a thorough investigation into the matter and take stringent action. Khaling demanded that the three lecturers should not be granted bail and they should be terminated by the authorities concerned.

Khaling also questioned over sending survey teams only to those constituencies which are stronghold of SKM party.

“As the polling process has not been over as postal ballot process still continues so such survey is an attempt to influence the postal ballot voting,” he alleged.

Also read: Three-tier security cordon guarding EVM strong rooms, asserts East Sikkim DEO

He further stated that no one can publish any dummy of postal ballot.

Pointing fingers at the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), Khaling alleged that it was a SDF-sponsored conspiracy.

Khaling also alleged that CSDS state coordinator was a close relative of the principle secretary of the CMO.

He also informed that another survey team of India Today group has been doing exit poll in West Sikkim.

He demanded the Election Commission and District Collector, West to take strong action in this regard.

The SKM party spokesman also demanded the Election Commission to cancel all ballot papers submitted by the government employees so far and issue fresh ballot papers with new design and colour to them and make arrangement for them to cast their votes in a free and fair manner in a single day.

He stated that if the Commission fails to take any action then it will create doubt over the Election Commission.

Khaling further added that in case of any unfortunate incident occurs in the state then the state government, chief secretary and the Election Commission would be fully responsible.

Sagar Chhetri

Sagar Chhetri is Northeast Now Correspondent in Gangtok. He can be reached at: sagchhetri@gmail.com

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