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Videos showing EVMs in private vehicles, shop add to fears of 'manipulation' ahead of counting

Election Commission however said that all EVMs are safe and asserted that the charges of manipulation are baseless

Tuesday May 21, 2019 3:05 PM, ummid.com & Agencies

EVM Manipulation

New Delhi: A major controversy erupted on Tuesday after allegations that EVMs were being changed in the Election Commissions strong rooms in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar but the poll body asserted that the charges were "baseless" and "frivolous".

The charges of manipulations surfaced after some videos went viral purportedly showing EVMs being transported in open trucks. There were claims that these trucks were going to the EC strong rooms in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

One video was claimed to be of Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, with EVMs being seen off-loaded and purportedly placed inside a room. The clip shows some people, apparently supporters of Samajwadi Party, questioning it.

Mahagathbandhan candidate Afzal Ansari, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections on a BSP ticket, also alleged that EVMs are being replaced in Ghazipur.

Another video was shared by an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) worker, who alleged that the video was shot in Punjab and two EVMs and a VVPAT machine were found lying in a car. She even levelled allegations against BJP.

In yet another video, a man could be seen alleging that EVMs were being brought in at a polling station in Jhansi without informing the candidates.

Dismissing the allegations of manipulation as "baseless" and "frivolous", the Election Commission of India (ECI), in a statement, said the voting machines are stored in proper security and protocol in the presence of candidates of the political parties.

Sharing information about Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, the Commission said there was an issue regarding "having watch on polled EVM strong room by the candidates", which was resolved by conveying the ECI instructions.

About charges regarding Chandauli, the ECI denied that the EVMs were being changed and said the allegations by some people were "frivolous". It said the "EVMs were in proper security and protocol".

The poll body said additional unused EVMs from Sakaldiha assembly segment of Chandauli were brought to Naveen Mandi Sthal and they were meant to be stored in a different room at the place.

"Thirty five additional unused EVMs were kept at the Sakaldiha tehsil. These couldn't be transported on Sunday and were brought from Sakaldiha on Monday to be stored in a different place," district election officer Navneet Singh Chahal said.

Regarding Domariaganj, the ECI said the EVMs were in "proper security and protocol". "Agitation was unnecessary. They were convinced by DM (District Magistrate) and SP (Superintendent of Police). The matter is resolved."

On issues raised in Jhansi, the ECI said the EVMs are "stored in proper security and protocol in the presence of political parties candidates".

"No issue. In fact in all the cases, polled EVMS and VVPATs were sealed properly in front of the political parties candidates in videography. CCTV cameras are installed. CPAF (Central Armed Police Force) security is there. Candidates are allowed to have watch on strong room at a time and at a point one representatives of each candidates 24x7," said the statement.

"The allegations are baseless," the ECI added.

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