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Published On: Tue, May 21st, 2019

Questions raised over movement of EVMs in north India

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evms_rigging_161062_730x419-mLUCKNOW/ NEW DELHI: Days after the final phase of Lok Sabha voting concluded, multiple videos of EVMs being moved and stored from one unauthorised storage house to another surfaced on social media, triggering questions.
Allegations have surfaced of electronic voting machines being tampered with in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana, leading to protests outside voting machine storage rooms. The Election Commission however, said the voting machines were maintained in “proper security and protocol”.
The videos and the allegations have emerged just ahead of a meeting of 21 opposition parties, including the Congress, with the Election Commission this afternoon to flag their concerns about Electronic Voting Machines and the VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Trail Machines).
A mobile phone clip shot on Monday from the Chandauli parliamentary seat shows EVMs being off-loaded and put in a room inside the counting centre complex.Supporters of the Samajwadi Party candidate in Chandauli, who filmed the video, can be heard questioning why the voting machines were being off-loaded a day after polling and why they were not brought in earlier.

Opposition claims tampering of voting machines as videos show the movement of EVMs in UP and Bihar. In videos machines can be stored at local shops, others are seen piled up in the boot of private vehicles. One of the video that is purportedly shot in Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli, a group of men can be seen unloading scores of voting machines and VVPAT machines and piling them inside a shop.
Another from Ghazipur, BSP candidate Afzal Ansari claimed that some attempted to take out a vehicle full of EVMs. However, police and the district have denied the allegations.
Also, a video has been shared by AAAP worker, who leveled allegations against BJP, alleged that the video is of Punjab and the two voting machines was found lying in a car. some facts and evidence of EVM and filthy Game of BJP.#EVM machines found in a car with no security in Punjab.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav has also raised the issue saying, “Visuals and claims of sudden movement of EVMs observed across north India! Why is it so? Who is transporting these EVMs & Why? What is the purpose and objective of this exercise? In order to avoid any confusion & misconception, the Election Commission must issue a statement ASAP.”
Soon after the controversy hit, Election Commission responded on EVM issue. “Ghazipur- There was an issue regarding “Having a watch on polled EVM strong room by the candidates ” which was resolved by conveying the EC instructions. 2. Chandauli – frivolous allegation by some people, EVMs were in proper security and protocol,” ANI reported.
According to a TV channel , in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate held a sit-in outside the storage room for electronic voting machines (EVMs) last night. Afzal Ansari and his supporters claim there was an attempt to take out a vehicle full of electronic voting machines.
Afzal Ansari’s opponent in Ghazipur is Union Minister Manoj Sinha of the BJP. The sit-in ended after the returning officer of the district assured the protesters that arrangements are in place to have representatives of the candidates at vantage points around the EVM strongrooms and that there will be complete transparency.

 

The administration says the machines seen in the video are about 35 reserve EVM units from an assembly segment in Chandauli. Officials said these voting machines reached the storage room and the counting centre later than the other EVMs because of logistical issues. Similar allegations have come up from Jhansi, Mau, Mirzapur and parts of Haryana, Punjab and Bihar too.

According to an order by the Election Commission in December last year, all EVMs that were used for voting and reserve EVMs “shall be under cover of armed police at all times” after polling process is over. The order says “reserve EVMs should also be returned at the same time when the polled EVMs are returned at the receipt center”.(With Agency Inputs ).

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