With EVMs reaching the collection centre in Sagar in Madhya Pradesh two days after the polls, a Congress delegation met the Election Commission on Saturday raising concern over the security of EVMs inside strong rooms and their handling during the counting process in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It also alleged deletion of names of voters in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress leader and AICC's Chhattisgarh in-charge P L Punia said suspicious activities were being reported in the Dhamtari Assembly seat in the state. He claimed suspicious people with laptops and mobile phones were seen around the strong rooms, where Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were kept after the voting, on the pretext of repairing the CCTVs. The party has also lodged a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer in Raipur regarding this, Punia said briefing the media after meeting the election commission officials.
Congress MP Vivek Tankha claimed there was no electricity in a strong room in Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal city for over an hour during which the CCTV cameras had also stopped functioning. He also claimed that 48 hours after the closing of polls in the state, a school bus bearing no number plate and carrying EVMs had reached the Sagar district collector's office.
Congress has claimed an EVM strong room in Bhopal was left without electricity for nearly one and a half hours on Friday disrupting live status of the machines. However an official clarified that the CCTV cameras were switched off a day earlier as 'safety norms' mention that "there should be no power connection in the room where the electronic voting machines are kept".
At the strong room in Sagar, it was reported that a group of polling officers arrived with 50 EVMs around 48 hours after the polling ended on November 28. Alleging foul play, Congress leaders and workers in Sagar did not allow the machines to be deposited in the strong room and on their complaint the district collector Alok Singh summoned the machines to the Collectorate.
"The objective of this was ostensibly to deposit these machines with the office of the collector. These spare EVMs were to be deposited two hours after the polls and not after two days. This happened in the Khuria seat from where the state home minister is contesting the polls," Tankha told reporters.
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi alleged that in Uttar Pradesh's Sarhanpur district there were discrepancies such as erroneous deletion of names of voters on booth number 44. He said glaring anomalies were found in 98 of the 100 forms on this booth and names of people of a particular community were being deleted so they could not vote against the ruling party. "The Election Commission has assured us that they will look into it," Singhvi said.