By-polls: Gondia collector transferred

By-polls: Gondia collector transferred

A day after reports of faulty Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines surfaced during the twin bypolls in Bhandara Gondia and Palghar Lok Sabha seats, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday transferred the Gondia collector and suspended two officials.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India has ordered re-polling in 49 polling stations in the Bhandara Gondia constituency.

The re-polling in booths located in Bhandara, Sakoli, Arjuni-Morgaon, Tirora and Gondiya Assembly segments will be held on Wednesday.

Gondia's Collector and District Magistrate Abhimanyu Kale, who was the returning officer, was transferred and kept under waiting.

Nagpur Zilla Parishad's Chief Executive Officer Kadambari Balkawde has been appointed as the district collector of Gondia, according to an order issued by Additional Chief Secretary Mukhesh Khullar, who heads the General Administration Department.

Meanwhile, in Palghar, two election officials, who were transporting VVPAT-EVMs in a private car, were transferred.

The zonal polling officers of Booth No. 17 in Chinchani, Deepak Khot and Manohar Khande, were placed under suspension by Palghar Collector Prashant Narnaware for the shocking lapse and flouting of poll-related protocols.

A detailed investigation report of the assistant returning officer (ARO) and the local police are awaited before taking further action in the matter.

As per the guidelines of the Election Commission, after voting buses or designated vehicles are sent to pick up EVMs and VVPATs from the polling stations, they travel a pre-decided route under security.

However, these officials did not wait for the bus and called a car from home and drove towards the ARO office. However, some alert citizens caught them with EVMs in their car.