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Postal Ballots Found Lying on Tables of Police Canteen in Madhya Pradesh Has Congress up in Arms

The Congress workers had found these postal ballots from a canteen of Home Guards’ office which is situated besides police headquarters in Bhopal in Jehangirabad locality.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:December 5, 2018, 8:14 AM IST
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Postal Ballots Found Lying on Tables of Police Canteen in Madhya Pradesh Has Congress up in Arms
Congress alleged that the postal ballots were lying at the canteen for last three days.
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Bhopal: Hours after the Congress had approached the Election Commission of India alleging mishandling of EVMs in Madhya Pradesh, the party workers found postal ballots lying unattended inside a canteen of MP Police in Bhopal on Tuesday.

The voting through postal ballots was undertaken in Bhopal on Nov 18 and around 4,000 of these paper ballots were issued to police staffers who were engaged in poll duties. Personnel from the police, special armed forces (SAF), home guards, special police officers had taken part in these postal ballots that were to reach the EC by Dec 11 — the day of counting.

Meanwhile, the Congress workers had found these postal ballots from a canteen of Home Guards’ office which is situated besides police headquarters in Bhopal in Jehangirabad locality.

“I had received an input and as I reached the Home Guard canteen on Tuesday, I found three envelopes of postal ballots outside the canteen and there were around 250 more such envelopes inside, unattended,” Congress leader Krishna Ghatge told News18.

The postal ballots were lying at the canteen for last three days, Ghatge alleged. He said the party would complain to the Chief Electoral Officer, MP, over this serious lapse on Wednesday.

Collector Bhopal and the District Returning Officer Sudama Khaade has ordered a probe into the matter. The probe officer was busy looking into the matter at police canteen when reports last came in.

The Congress leaders, including Bhopal South West candidate PC Sharma, and the media had landed at the scene shortly and the canteen was closed hurriedly.

“We had recovered the postal ballots on the table of Home Guard canteen unattended and some of the envelopes were open,” Sharma told News18 alleging the authorities have made a mockery of the polling process in MP while referring to the EVMs and other anomalies. The officer present on the spot expressed ignorance about the postal ballots lying in the open.

The incident comes close on the heels of several incidents that have put a question mark on the safety of EVMs. It started with a polling officer who was found with the EVMs in a hotel room in Shujalpur a night prior to the polling and then a large number of EVMs malfunctioned in MP, especially at Satna on the day of polling on Nov 28.

There were also reports of EVMs landing at district headquarters two or three days after polling concluded, including at Sagar, Khandwa and Shahdol. Besides, the LED screen streaming live feeds of strong room based in Old Jail Bhopal went off for over an hour, triggering protests from the Congress whose workers are keeping guard outside strong rooms across the state.

In the latest incident threatening the safety of EVMs locked inside strong rooms, an SUV had rammed the strong room in Satna late evening on Monday damaging a portion of the boundary wall of the premises.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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