Releasing videos of officials carrying electronic voting machines (EVMs) found at a private hotel in Madhya Pradesh, people carrying boxes to the strong room and an unregistered school bus full of EVMs at the State’s Sagar district, the Congress on Saturday accused the BJP of “an organized attempt to subvert the mandate” in MP and Chhattisgarh.
“Sensing a defeat in Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh, some are indulging in desperate measures by attempting to tamper with EVM’s in strong rooms. Urge the EC to investigate & take concrete action,” said Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel in a tweet.
“I am submitting 4 suggestions to Election Commission ahead of Chattisgarh counting 1)Kindly allow representatives of all political parties while transporting EVM’s to counting centres from strong rooms 2)Cross check if postal ballots were received from eligible voters. 3) Review conduct of top officials in 3 districts-Rajnandgaon, Kondagaon & Bilaspur 4)Initiate second round of counting only after completion of first round,” said Mr. Patel in a series of tweets.
Team meets poll panel
A Congress delegation also met the Election Commission (EC) and flagged the party’s concerns over the security of EVMs inside strong rooms and their handling during the counting process in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
It also raised the issue of alleged deletion of voters from electoral rolls in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the Election Commission, Congress leader in -charge of Chhattisgarh P.L. Punia said suspicious activities were being reported in the Dhamtari Assembly seat in the State.
“People with laptops and mobile phones, on the pretext of repairing the CCTVs, were seen around the strong rooms where Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were kept after the voting,” Mr Punia said.
Congress’ Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha alleged there was no electricity in a strong room in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal city for over an hour during which CCTV cameras had stopped functioning.
The Congress MP also claimed that 48 hours after voting ended, a school bus without a number plate carrying several EVMs had reached the Sagar District Collector’s office on Friday.
“The objective of this was ostensibly to deposit these machines with the office of the Collector. These spare EVMs were to be deposited two hours after the polls and not after two days. This happened in the Khuria seat from where the State Home Minister is contesting the polls,” he told reporters.
The Congress delegation to the Election Commission included Abhishek Singhvi, Manish Tewari, P.L. Punia, Vivek Tankha and Pranab Jha.
Talking about the video of poll officials carrying EVMs to a hotel room, Mr. Tewari said, “What was an EVM doing in a hotel room?” And while the EC says that they have suspended the officials, the State Election Commission says EVMs have not been tampered.”
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi alleged that in Uttar Pradesh’s Sarhanpur district there were discrepancies such as erroneous deletion of names of voters on booth number 44. He claimed anomalies were found in 98 of the 100 forms on this booth and names of people of a ‘particular community’ were being deleted so they could not vote against the ruling party.
“The Election Commission has assured us that they will look into it,” Mr. Singhvi said.