Transportation of Unescorted EVMs ahead of Counting Raises Suspicion

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Unescorted Electronic Voting Machine

Caravan News

NEW DELHI – Reports and video clips of transporting unescorted Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) surfaced in different parts of the country like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab raising the suspicion of changing the machine or tampering with it.

These reports have drawn sharp reactions from opposition parties and their supporters as they are coming out two days ahead of the counting of the votes of elections. The Opposition have been raising the issue of malfunctioning and tampering with the machine. They are likely to meet the Election Commission officials with the demand of matching the EVMs with VVAPT.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli, the seizure of an EVM-laden truck has created quite the ruckus. In videos doing the rounds, EVMs are being put into a storage unit. The person recording the video is heard saying that the elections got over yesterday but the machines are being brought a day later.

The workers at the spot are seen telling the person that they are the reserve EVMs that are being brought a day later, on the orders of the Divisional Officer of the area.

In a separate incident, Afzal Ansari, the SP-BSP joint candidate from Uttar Pradesh’s Gazipur, sat on protest outside a strongroom where the electronic voting machines are kept. He claims the EVMs were being transported out of the strongroom in a vehicle.

In a video, Ansari and his supporters were seen engaging in a heated argument with a police officer. Ansari is seen mentioning the Chandauli incident and alleging similar practices in Gazipur.

Earlier in the day, the principal opposition party in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal, had claimed that multiple EVMs were seized by its workers from a truck, near the Maharajganj Lok Sabha area in Bihar. The party even shared some pictures on its official Twitter handle, of a mini truck purportedly transporting dozens of EVMs and VVPAT machines.

It claims that the EVM-laden mini-truck was moving around the strong rooms near the Saran and Maharajganj Lok Sabha areas, seemingly in a bid to enter the rooms, set up for the safekeeping of the EVMs by the Election Commission.

The party alleged that the BJP was attempting to manipulate the EVMs, in a bid to change the outcome of the elections. It has also asked its party workers to remain vigilant, to curb other such attempts.

The party also retweeted another video which makes claims about similar discrepancies in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi. The video was originally tweeted by the handle of Welfare Party of India Maharashtra.

However, the Election Commission has rejected the claims of any wrong with the machines. Speaking to ANI, District Election Office of Jhansi Shiv Sahay Awasthi said, “Some polling parties arrived late. However, all EVMs were put in place in the strong room by 7 am. The strong room has been sealed in presence of general observers and candidates under CCTV surveillance.”

According to the Election Commission guidelines for storage and transportation of EVMs (polled and unpolled), “all polled and reserve EVMs, after the voting, shall be under the cover of armed police at all times. Reserve EVMs should also be returned at the same time when the polled EVMs are returned at the receipt center.”

The guidelines also say that “it must be ensured that all reserve EVMs are also deposited in the strong room meant for reserve EVMs at the same time when the polled EVMs are deposited in the strong room meant for polled EVMs.”

 

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