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Wednesday 8 April 2020

Opposition finds EVM movement fishy; EC allows monitoring

The opposition has been disturbed since the broadcast of the exit polls after the conclusion of the seventh round of the Lok Sabha election, 2019

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New Delhi: In Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, the administration has allowed five people, who are not employed by the Election Commission (EC) to keep a vigil on the EVM strong room. On Monday, the SP-BSP-RLD alliance’s candidates, joined by their supporters, had demanded this with a sit-in demonstration. The opposition alliance alleged that the Assembly seats in the Ghazipur Lok Sabha constituency get EVM units from five different locations. The mahagathbandhan supporters demonstrated in Chandauli of Uttar Pradesh. They alleged that some EVMs brought by a car were kept in a room separate from the counting site.

In some places of Bihar as well, the opposition alleged they saw some ‘suspicious movements’ of the EVM units.

But the EC says that all the cases have been investigated and resolved. It said that these allegations were baseless.

At Domariaganj in Uttar Pradesh, opposition activists held a mini truck filled with EVM units last Tuesday. They alleged that the truck was being brought out of the EVM strong room. They alleged further that BJP activists tampered with these EVM units. This area had voted on 12 May.

Atul Rai, the SP-BSP candidate from Mau in Uttar Pradesh, sat outside the EVM strong room with his supporters, fearing a manipulation of the EVM units. They took chairs and sat outside the strong room.

Responding to these allegations, the EC issued a statement on Tuesday. The commission described all these allegations as baseless and said wherever there was a problem, the case has been settled.

The EC said about the allegation by the opposition alliance partners in Ghazipur that monitoring of the EVM strong room by the candidates was an issue, which was settled according to the directions of the Election Commission.

In Chandauli, the EC said, the EVM units were reasonably secured as per the protocol.

The Commission said the Domariaganj EVMs are safe, too. The charges are baseless, the EC added. The district magistrate and the superintendent of police have explained to the candidates, the EC said, how the EVM units were safe and that this issue had been settled, too.

About Jhansi, the EC said that the EVMs were under proper security and protocol. All political parties have representatives there, monitoring the situation. So, there is no problem there either, the EC said.

The EC said that the EVMs and VVPATs had been sealed properly in front of the candidates while the whole sequence was shot on camera. CCTV cameras have been installed at the locations. Central security forces are deployed there. Candidates have been allowed to keep the strong room on watch and one of their representatives is allowed to stay there all the time. The charges are baseless, the EC insisted.

The opposition has been disturbed since the broadcast of the exit polls after the conclusion of the seventh round of the Lok Sabha election, 2019.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi has released an audio clip where she is heard saying, “Dear party worker, sisters and brothers, do not let rumours and exit polls affect your morale. These rumours are being spread to shake your confidence. Your alertness becomes all the more critical in such situations. Stay put at the strong rooms and counting centres and stay alert. I am confident that your hard work and mine will pay off.”

Related: Why an Indian election can’t be manipulated by EVM hacking

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