Congress flags EVM concerns with Election Commission

Congress flags EVM concerns with Election Commission

Congress leaders (L-R) Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Ahmed Patel, and others leave after a meeting with the Election Commissioner at Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi, on Tuesday. PTI

With votes cast in Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, Congress leaders have stepped up a vigil outside strongrooms where EVMs are stored across the two states and flagging the slightest doubt with the Election Commission.

The Congress has moved the Election Commission at least twice since the votes were cast in Madhya Pradesh on Friday last to voice concerns over the security of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and even made suggestions to their safety.

On Tuesday, Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Kamal Nath met newly appointed Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora to protest the arrest of Telangana Congress Working President A Revanth Reddy at his residence in Kodangal Assembly constituency in the state.

“The arrest of Reddy at 3:00 am without citing any reason is a clear attempt to damage the political prospects of the Congress,” Sibal told reporters here after meeting the CEC. Reddy was arrested by the Telangana Police following his remarks to stall Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's rally in Kodangal.

Reddy was released minutes before the Telangana chief minister began his speech on Tuesday evening.

Kamal Nath, the president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress, also flagged issues related to the security of EVMs in the state where the Congress has made a determined bid to oust the 15-year-old BJP government.

Congress leaders also urged the Election Commission to issue a notice to BJP chief Amit Shah for statements made on the campaign trail in Telangana allegedly aimed at creating a communal tension in the state.

Shah's statement in Telangana was absolutely false and misrepresented some points of the Congress's poll manifesto in the southern state, Sibal said.

Sibal said he and Nath also cited instances such as EVMs being transported in private school buses without registration numbers, the power failure in strong rooms and EVMs found in hotel rooms.

The Congress demanded the immediate removal of officials involved in such instances from election duty. “These officials should not lead the counting of votes,” Nath said.

Nath also wanted the counting of the second round of votes to be taken up only after the process for the first round was over.