Reports Of Unguarded EVM Movements, EC Calls It ‘Baseless’

The Election Commission on Tuesday called as “baseless” multiple reports of EVMs being transported without security in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The poll panel said that in all cases the EVMs and VVPATs were sealed properly in front of the parties’ candidates, said a report appearing in The Quint website.

Speaking to ANI, Jhansi district election officer Shiv Sahay Awasthi said: “Some polling parties arrived late. However, all EVMs were put in place in the strong room by 7am. The strong room has been sealed in the presence of general observers and candidates under CCTV surveillance.”

Earlier on Monday, incidents of EVMs being transported without any security were reported from EC strongrooms in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar after polling ended.

In Chandauli, there was ruckus after an EVM-laden truck was seized. In videos doing the rounds, EVMs can be seen being put into a storage unit. The person recording the video is heard saying the elections got over “yesterday” but the machines are being brought a day later.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the Congress party and the SP-BSP alliance had deputed their own workers to monitor strongrooms near the market area in Chandauli. The EVMs were kept there after voting on Sunday. The report said party workers spotted the truck late on Monday after which several leaders accused the BJP of tampering with the EVMs.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted another video, which claimed that a truck full of EVMs entered a strongroom in Fatehabad in Haryana, raising similar suspicions.

In a separate incident in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, Afzal Ansari, the SP-BSP joint candidate, sat on a protest outside a strongroom where EVMs are kept. He claimed the EVMs were being transported out of the strongroom in a vehicle.

Earlier on Monday, the principal Opposition party in Bihar, the RJD, had claimed that its workers had seized multiple EVMs from a truck near the Maharajganj Lok Sabha area in Bihar.

It claimed that the EVM-laden mini-trucks were moving around strongrooms near the Saran and Maharajganj Lok Sabha areas, seemingly in a bid to enter the rooms set up for safekeeping of EVMs by the Election Commission. The party alleged that the BJP was trying to manipulate the EVMs to change the outcome of the elections. It has also asked its party workers to remain vigilant, to curb other such attempts.

The party also retweeted a video that claims similar discrepancies in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi. The video was originally tweeted by the handle of Welfare Party of India Maharashtra

Strangely, according to Election Commission guidelines “all polled and reserve EVMs, after the voting, shall be under the cover of armed police at all times. Reserve EVMs should also be returned at the same time when the polled EVMs are returned at the receipt center.”

The guidelines also say that “it must be ensured that all reserve EVMs are also deposited in the strong room meant for reserve EVMs at the same time when the polled EVMs are deposited in the strong room meant for polled EVMs.”

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