New Delhi: After former President Pranab Mukherjee joined the opposition chorus in expressing concern over the alleged tampering of the Electronic Voting Machines, the Election Commission asserted on Tuesday that “all polled EVMs are absolutely safe in strong rooms.”
In a press note, it clarified “emphatically and unambiguously” that alleged movement of the EVMs, purportedly to replace them with the polled EVMs in strong rooms, are absolutely false and factually incorrect.”
It claimed the visuals seen viral on the media do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls. Allegations of Electronic Voting Machines being tampered with or being transported in private cars in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana surfaced on Tuesday morning.
For instance, a mobile phone clip that emerged from the Chandauli parliamentary seat shows EVMs being off-loaded and put in a room inside what appears to be a counting centre. Supporters of the Samajwadi Party candidate in Chandauli, who filmed the video, can be heard questioning why the voting machines were being off-loaded a day after polling and why they were not brought in earlier.
The administration said the machines seen in the video were 35 reserve EVM units from an assembly segment in Chandauli.
Officials said these voting machines reached the storage room and the counting centre later than the other EVMs because of “logistical issues”. According to the rules, reserve EVMs should be deposited at the same time as the machines used in voting.
In eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, the BSP candidate protested outside the storage room for electronic voting machines last night. Afzal Ansari and his supporters claim there was an attempt to take out a vehicle full of voting machines The Election Commission called the allegations “frivolous” and said the voting machines were maintained in “proper security and protocol”.
It pointed out that all polled EVMs and VVPAT machines are brought under security cover to the designated strongrooms, which are sealed with double locks in the presence of candidates and the EC observers and this is videographed. Noting that each strongroom is guarded with round-theclock security by the central armed police forces, it said the candidates or their designated agents remain present in the strongroom for 24×7 vigil at all times.
The EC said, on the counting day, the strongrooms will be opened in the presence of candidates/agents and observers under videography and the counting agents will be shown the address tags, seals and serial numbers of EVMs before the counting of the EVMs begins.