The Election Commission on Tuesday dismissed allegations of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) manipulation in strongrooms in Uttar Pradesh saying they were ‘frivolous’ and ‘baseless’ and that protocol was being followed ahead of counting of votes on May 23.
“EVMs and VVPATs were sealed properly in front of parties candidates and videographed. CCTV cameras are installed…Candidates are allowed to keep a watch on strongroom at a time and one representative of each candidate is present. The allegations are baseless,” the Election Commission said.
EC: In all cases, polled EVMs&VVPATs were sealed properly in front of parties' candidates&videographed. CCTV cameras installed. CAPF security there. Candidates are allowed to have watch on strong room at a time&one representatives of each candidates 24×7. Allegations baseless. https://t.co/cNllIGIUXv— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 21, 2019
Protests by political parties were reported from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, Chandauli, Domariaganj and Jhansi after videos of alleged movement and tampering of EVMs went viral on social media. The parties alleged that EVMs were being changed in strongrooms at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The apprehensions regarding EVMs are baseless. EVMs are in strong room with 24×7 CISF security. And candidates have been allowed to post their agents to monitor the strong room.— Ghazipur_admin (@AdminGhazipur) May 21, 2019
In Ghazipur, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Afzal Ansari held a sit-in outside the strongroom on Monday. In a video of the incident, Ansari and his supporters were seen engaged in a heated argument with a police officer.
Talking to reporters, Ansari, who is the brother of mafia don and legislator Mukhtar Ansari, said that according to reports, similar incidents have been reported from other constituencies in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
"EVMs are being shifted out and probably replaced. None of the candidates were informed of the movement of EVMs. I am not going anywhere now because this is a clear attempt to resort to malpractices before counting," Ansari said. The administration denied the charge.
Ansari is contesting against BJP candidate and Union Minister Manoj Sinha.
On allegations of EVM manipulation in Chandauli, the Election Commission report said, “frivolous allegation by some people, EVMs were in proper security and protocol.”
Ghazipur and Chandauli voted on Sunday, the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha elections.
In Mirzapur, Congress candidate Lalitesh Pati Tripathi has sent a letter to the poll observer questioning the presence of 'additional EVMs' in the strongroom. He has asked the observer to ensure removal of additional EVMs in the presence of all candidates before the counting day.
Tripathi is pitted against Union Minister Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal in Mirzapur.
Two weeks ago, a similar movement of EVMs was reported from Amethi and the district administration claimed that 'unused' EVMs were being sent to places where polling had not yet taken place.
All opposition parties have issued directives to their district and city units asking their cadres to prepare for counting of votes.
Fearing irregularities during counting of votes, the opposition parties have asked their cadres not to be lax in maintaining security of strongrooms where EVMs have been kept.
(With inputs from agencies)