‘Baseless’: Election Commission Dismisses Questions on ‘Unsecured’ Movement of EVMs in Uttar Pradesh
New Delhi: After a few incidents of EVM’s being transported allegedly without any security were reported from Uttar Pradesh, the Election Commission has come out with a statement calling the allegations “baseless and frivolous”.
Addressing the allegations about each of the four places from where the incidents were reported, the poll panel said “the EVMs were in proper security and protocol”.
“In all the cases, polled EVMS and VVPATs were sealed properly in front of the political parties candidates in videography. CCTV cameras are installed and CPAF security is there. Candidates are allowed to have a watch on strongroom and one representative of each candidate is there 24×7. The allegations are baseless,” the EC said.
The videos allegedly showing the EVMs being transported without security had surfaced at a time when the opposition parties have raised questions about efforts to tamper with them and demanded increased VVPAT matching, a plea that was rejected by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
On eastern Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur, where Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Afzal Ansari had held a sit-in outside the local strongroom, alleging that there was an attempt to take out a vehicle full of electronic voting machines, the Election Commission said the matter has been resolved and specific instructions have been issued.
WOAH! WATCH MGB candidate from Gazipur confronting POLICE on EVM safety.He alleges that a truck full of EVMs was spotted. He is now sitting on dharna outside the counting centre. His demand is that instead of CISF, BSF must protect EVMs. Watch this space for more. pic.twitter.com/kpYLbyPc73— SaahilMurli Menghani (@saahilmenghani) May 20, 2019
Afzal Ansari is the brother of jailed Uttar Pradesh gangster Mukhtar Ansari. His opponent in Ghazipur is Union Minister Manoj Sinha of the BJP.
In Chandauli, the Samajwadi Party had shot a video showing EVMs being brought into a room into the counting centre, a days after voting for the seat had wrapped up on Sunday.
Without any comment, an EVM video from Chandauli, UP. pic.twitter.com/Gmwj638mdo— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) May 20, 2019
The EC said the EVMs were always in “proper security and protocol” and said the allegation was frivolous. Local officials had said that the machines seen in the video were 35 reserve EVM units from an assembly segment in the parliamentary seat.
The poll panel also said that protocol regarding EVMs was followed in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Domariyaganj seat, where SP and BSP workers had reportedly 'caught' a mini-truck full of EVMs being taken out of the compound of the strongroom. The alliance workers said this was a ploy by the BJP to tamper with the machines.
Calling the agitation by the workers of the two parties “unnecessary”, the EC said that they were convinced by the local administration officials and the matter has been resolved.
The local administration had explained that these were also reserve units and they were being taken to be used in the next phase of voting. However, after the protests the Election Commission officials had taken the EVMs back inside the counting centre.
Similarly, in Jhansi constituency also, claims were made that there were similar discrepancies after a video tweeted by the handle of Welfare Party of India Maharashtra made the rounds. The EC said the protocol was followed in the presence of political party candidates and called it a “non-issue”.