The letter, dated May 10, follows a complaint by two contesting candidates — Sajjad Hussain and Asghar Ali Karbalai — in the Kargil parliamentary constituency. It has also been addressed to the commanding officer of the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre, which would indicate that locally recruited soldiers from the Ladakh Scouts were allegedly deprived of their voting rights.
When contacted for comments, the Army headquarters in Delhi stated: “Preliminary investigations indicate that the complaints are unfounded and appear to have been made to tarnish the image of the Army.”
Promising an “in-depth investigation”, the Army stated: “Army remains apolitical and we hold this core value in letter and spirit.”
Lavasa is a highly regarded Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from the 2013 batch. She is the daughter of former IAS officer, Ashok Lavasa, who is currently an Election Commissioner.
While this is the only instance where an election officer has raised an allegation of voting malpractices in the Army, there have been similar reports of commanding officers voting on behalf of their troops in other sectors. In Jammu, there were reports that a signals regiment commanding officer had diverted all his subordinates’ votes to a particular political party.