Bindal gets EC notice for ‘tracking’ service voters

Former Himachal health minister Rajiv Bindal has come under the scanner of the Election Commission of India (EC) for allegedly "chasing and tracking" service voters — a person having service qualification can be enrolled as service voter at his native place though he actually may reside at his place of posting.

Days after EC sought a report on the BJP Nahan candidate's activities — Bindal allegedly demanded that fresh postal ballots be issued for employees, who were yet to send their ballots for Nahan — the chief electoral officer (CEO) has issued him a showcause notice while warning that proceedings will take place against him under Section 123 (relating to the use of corrupt practices and electoral offences) of the Representation of People Act-1951 if he does not restrain himself from interfering in the poll process. According to norms, postal ballot for service voters cannot be issued after elections had taken place.

Bindal also reportedly approached the returning officer of Nahan and the CEO office to get postal ballots issued for service voters who are either yet to vote or receive the the ballots.

In Himachal, nearly 1.17 lakh Army and service voters will vote through postal ballots till December 20. Over 21,000 service voters, out of the total 43,000 people — mainly state government employees — have already sent sent their ballots. Around 74,000 Army and paramilitary personnel will also send their votes. "The EC had sought a report about Bindal tracking service voters. The EC viewed it seriously, as it amounts to influencing voters. It is also a violation of the code of conduct. We have sent him showcause notice, a copy of which has also been forwarded to the EC," CEO Narinder Chauhan said.

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