In a major blow to the National People’s Party (NPP), the GHADC CEM, Benedict Marak, has been restrained from taking further part in campaigns for the upcoming by-elections in Rajabala constituency.
The order restraining the CEM comes in the wake of complaints against Benedict for threatening the electorate to vote for his party or face dire consequences. This was confirmed by the returning officer of the upcoming election, CN Sangma. The restraining order will last until polls close on October 30.
Earlier, the Congress had made a complaint to the Returning Officer on the matter following which a probe was launched to verify the complaints. An audio of the incident has been doing the rounds on social media and was also submitted to the RO for verification.
The investigation had found Benedict being present on the night when at the village of Belbari Tillapara where villagers confirmed that such a speech was made. He was also found to have violated guidelines which allow for campaigning only up to 7pm. The incident in question occurred on October 18. He was allegedly angry at the low turnout for his late-night meeting.
The enquiry report however did not find any evidence of election coercion made in the audio.
“There is no mention of election or threat to vote for their candidate though he was present in the area past the stipulated time. The voice on the audio has also been confirmed as his, as per the villagers present on the day,” said Sangma.