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NC, PDP accuse BSF of coercing voters; EVM malfunctioning reported

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Jammu, Apr 11: The National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday alleged that uniformed personnel coerced people to vote for the BJP and EVMs malfunctioned in some places with the Congress button not working during the first phase of polling in Jammu's Poonch area.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti tweeted a video showing voters raising anti-BJP slogans after they were purportedly roughed up by the BSF for not voting for the BJP.

"A voter at polling booth in Jammu was manhandled by the BSF because he refused to cast his vote for BJP. Using armed forces at polling stations to coerce people to vote for the BJP shows their desperation & hunger to usurp power by hook or crook," she said in her tweet.

The National Conference's Jammu provincial president Davinder Singh Rana also registered his protest on the issue. According to him, a uniformed officer coerced voters in Poonch's Arai Malka area to vote for the BJP.

A local administration official reached the spot and the uniformed officer has been removed following complaints by the voters, he said.

NC vice-president Omar Abdullah posted a video of presiding officer from Poonch area explaining the malfunctioning of an EVM button.

Assuring that voting, which was stalled in some polling booths in Poonch region, would soon resume, the presiding officer was asked which button was not working.

"Haath ka button (button showing hand)," he said.

The hand is the election symbol of Congress party.

Congress candidate from Jammu, Raman Bhalla, who cast his vote in Jammu, alleged large-scale EVM malfunction in Poonch and Mendhar belts of the constituency. He said that people have protested over the issue.

Another Congress spokesman alleged that in the EVMs, button number four of the Congress was not functioning and complaints were lodged with poll officials.

Former minister and senior Congress leader Shabir Khan told reporters in Rajouri that the defective EVMs have been sent to remote and rural areas of Rajouri and Poonch and people held protests. But nothing has been done to repair the machines, he alleged.

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