As per the FIR copy, Bhardwaj objected to two types of Swastik symbols on ballot papers. (Representational Photo: AFP)
Hyderabad: The March 13 elections to the Hyderabad Press Club (HPC) that was marred by violence, controversy and drama ended up in a police case following a complaint by the election management officer against Suraj Bharadwaj, who was in the fray for the president’s post.
Around 8: 30 pm a case was registered by M. Hema Sundar Rao, the club’s election management officer with the Panjagutta police. In the complaint, he stated that polling was conducted between 9 am and 6 pm on March 13 for the new executive committee and office-bearers for 2022-24. Even as counting was nearing completion, Bharadwaj raised objections and argued that votes should be recounted.
As per the FIR copy, Bhardwaj objected to two types of Swastik symbols on ballot papers. When the election officer pointed out that these symbols had been used in the previous two elections, Bhardwaj got into an altercation and his followers picked up the ballot box and poured water into it. When he tried to resist, he and his colleague M. Rangacharyulu (assistant election officer) were detained by the protestors, according to Rao. Bhardwaj demanded re-election because of inconsistencies in the ballot papers.
In the complaint, Rao said that he tried to explain the procedure to the two candidates in the fray for the post of president, Bharadwaj and Venugopal Naidu. He alleged that Bhardwaj's followers demanded that the election be halted and they had grabbed some election-related documents.
Inspector IM Niranjan Reddy registered a case in Cr.No: 109/2022 U/s 341,427,506 r/w 34 IPC and entrusted the case to sub-inspector B. Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy for investigation.
In his reaction, Bharadwaj said Rao had succumbed to pressure mounted by the other panel, which personally targeted him. He said that they had booked a case against him for questioning the irregularities in the election process.