Opposition allege tampering, EC rejects allegations

EVMs secure in the strong rooms - Election Commission

EVMs and VVPAT machines being unloaded from a Border Security Force helicopter at Stingri helipad for further transportation to the strong room in Lahaul and Spiti district on May 20, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Movement of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in some eastern Uttar Pradesh districts on Monday night triggered a massive controversy with the opposition parties alleging attempts to tamper with the same even as the Election Commission (EC) rejected the charges.

Reports of movement of EVMs came from Varanasi, Chandauli, Mirzapur and Ghazipur districts. Video clippings of vehicles containing EVMs also went viral on the social networking sites.

A large number of Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) workers created ruckus at Pahadia Mandi in Varanasi alleging that EVMs had been changed. They have embarked on a dharna near the Mandi office. The EVMs from Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency were kept there.

BSP candidate from Ghazipur LS constituency Afzal Ansari also sat on dharna before the Mandi Samiti office at Jangipur in the district alleging that EVMs were being transported out. Afzal Ansari, the brother of mafia-turned politician Mukhtar Ansari, candidate for the Mahagathbandhan from Ghazipur was said to be questioning the local police regarding EVM safety. 

''We will be sitting here till the counting of votes is over,'' Ansari, who contested against union minister Manoj Sinha, said.

Similar protests took place at Chandauli, Mirzapur, and Doomeryaganj in the state, reports said.

EC sources here categorically rejected the allegations saying that at some places the unused EVMs were transported from the concerned LS constituency.

The opposition leaders alleged that 35 EVMs had been brought from outside and kept with the used EVMs in the strong room in Ghazipur. They relented only, when the officials removed the 35 EVMs from there, sources said.

EC officials said that the rooms where the EVMs had been kept were sealed and there also were CCTV cameras. ''The allegation of tampering is baseless,'' said a senior official here.

Ever since the introduction of EVMs in the Indian electoral system, they have been at the centre of controversy. There have been a lot of accusations of tampering with EVMs by either side of the political spectrum.

A report from Live Hindustan has claimed that the Congress party, as well as the Mahagathbandhan, had karyakartas stationed in the strong room to keep an eye on the EVMs. The EVMs had been placed there following the end of the polling.

The reports also suggest that Prabhubnarayan Yadav from the SP Sakaldiha Legislative Assembly constituency accused the BJP of being responsible for moving the EVMs.

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