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Black Out at EVM Rooms, Late Arrival of Poll Agents: Controversies Mar MP Elections Ahead of Counting

An officer said that the CCTV cameras were switched off a day earlier as 'safety norms' mentions that there should be no power connection in the room where the electronic voting machines are kept.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:December 1, 2018, 8:10 AM IST
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Black Out at EVM Rooms, Late Arrival of Poll Agents: Controversies Mar MP Elections Ahead of Counting
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Sagar/Bhopal: An EVM strong room in Bhopal was left without electricity for nearly one and a half hours on Friday, disrupting live status of the machines. An officer said that the CCTV cameras were switched off a day earlier as 'safety norms' mention that "there should be no power connection in the room where the electronic voting machines are kept".

As citizens eagerly wait for the day of results, such incidents have been triggering a controversy soon after the voting. At the strong room in Sagar, it was reported that a group of polling officers arrived with 50 EVMs around 48 hours after the polling ended on November 28.

Some Congress workers even alleged that the seal on the main gate of the Bhopal strong room was missing. Collector Sudama Khade, who returned to inspect the venue after complaints, clarified that CCTV cameras installed inside the strong room were switched off on Thursday as the safety norms require that no power connection should be there at the room where the EVMs are kept. However, he denied that the seal on the main gate was tampered with.

Alleging foul play, the Congress leaders and workers in Sagar did not allow the machines to be deposited in the strong room and on their complaint the district collector Alok Singh summoned the machines to the Collectorate.

Speaking to the media, district collector Singh said the EVMs were being verified at the Collectorate and a report on the slack officers has been forwarded to the Election Commission. The administration, however, claimed that the machines which arrived in Sagar on Friday were the reserve machines.

Thousands of Congress workers, led by national secretary Govind Singh Rajput, were camping outside the Collectorate seeking verification of the said EVMs and keeping them separately till the completion of counting on December 11.

Assuring that the party had nothing against the EC, Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi claimed the party suspects foul play from the BJP.

“The LED screen outside the strong room was not operational for an hour and a half in Bhopal on Friday. The poll officers reached the strong room in Sagar with 50 EVMs from Khurai Assembly seat on Friday, when the deadline for submitting the machines was for midnight on November 28,” alleged Chaturvedi.

BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said the counting wasn’t done in the BJP office, but under the eyes of the Election Commission against which the Congress was expressing disbelief.

Apprehensive of tampering with the EVMs, the Congress has deployed party workers outside strong rooms at several places, including Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur.
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