EC got polling diaries manipulated in South Delhi LS seat, alleges AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party on Friday alleged that the Election Commission got polling diaries “manipulated” by presiding officers in the South Delhi Lok Sabha seat here.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj alleged that about 200-250 presiding officers had been called to the EC office in the past two days and asked to “change sensitive information in the polling diaries”.

These diaries are used to note hourly activity at a booth on the polling day.

Denying the allegations, South Delhi Returning Officer Nidhi Srivastav said the EC had not called any officials from the constituency.

The presiding officer diary lists information such as challenge votes raised, votes cast with companion, whether any adjournments took place, tender votes, slips issued, any election-related offences, serious complaints, any breach of law and other details which are overseen by polling agents of different political parties.

A senior official said these diaries are kept in a box outside the strongroom and certain typographical errors, which creep in due to the pressure of election duty, are corrected at the Assistant Returning Officer level. “These diaries contain sensitive information and we want to know why the EC asked the presiding officers to modify the information,” Mr. Bhardwaj said.

AAP candidate from South Delhi Raghav Chadha asked why documents were being recreated.

“Have learnt through reliable sources that EC has summoned presiding officers of South Delhi Parliamentary Constituency's polling stations to re-create and re-sign EVM related documents. This is shocking. What is going on? Why are docs being recreated? Are EVMs being replaced too? [sic]” Mr. Chadha tweeted.

‘Sealed documents’

Ms. Nidhi Srivastav said Mr. Chadda’s tweet was a “misinformation” being spread. She added that the “most important” document form 17C, which contains details such as the number of people who voted, total number of electors, number of votes not recorded, number of voters not allowed to vote, test votes recorded, total number of votes recorded as per the voting machine, is signed by polling agents of political parties and sealed in the strongroom along with the EVM and has three levels of security. “Hence there is no chance of manipulation,” she said.

Typographical errors in a copy are corrected at the ARO level, the South Delhi RO said. Only AAP representatives were sitting at the “monitoring area” to watch over the strongrooms, she added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party said AAP was levelling such allegations in the face of its impending defeat on all the seven Lok Sabha seats here.

‘Misleading people’

Delhi BJP media in-charge Pratyush Kanth said, “Apprehensive of their defeat, AAP leaders are raising questions against the EC. Now there is no option for AAP but to mislead the people of Delhi after failing to regain its public support.”

Mr. Kanth said earlier AAP had held EVMs “responsible for its defeat” in election to the municipal corporations in Delhi. “The EVMs against which it is raising questions were also used in the Assembly Elections in which AAP won 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 11:05:29 AM |

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