Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha on Tuesday said the mahagathbandhan workers in Bihar would even take up arms to protect their votes and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) from being tampered with.
Addressing a press conference Tuesday evening, Kushwaha said a vehicle full of EVMs had been caught and accompanying poll officials couldn't answer where they were moving voting machines to.
"Such incidents have obviously raised suspicion among the people, and they are angry," The RLSP chief said, adding, "it was the responsibility of the central and state governments to allay their apprehensions."
He added that the people and party workers won't stay quiet if these concerns aren't addressed.
"Just like bread, our vote is crucial, and if anybody tries to fiddle with it, we will go to the extent of picking up arms just to stop it from happening," he said.
Upendra Kushwaha, RLSP in Patna: Vote ki raksha ke liye zaroorat pade toh hathiyaar bhi uthana ho toh uthaiye. Aaj jo result loot ki jo ghatna karne ki jo koshish ho rahi hai toh isko rokne ke liye hathiyaar bhi uthana ho toh uthana chahiye. #LokSabhaElections2019 pic.twitter.com/g29bsWGyre— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
Kushwaha's RLSP was a part of the mahagathbandhan in Bihar along with RJD and Congress.
Several videos from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, showing EVMs being moved two days after the voting for the last phase concluded, surfaced on social media and raised suspicion that they could be tampered with.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has, however, dismissed allegations, saying the EVMs were safe in strongrooms.
Leaders from 22 Opposition parties on Tuesday met EC officials over the EVM tampering allegations and urged the poll body to probe the matter.
"We are asking the EC to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated," Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) N Chandrababu Naidu told reporters.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Chandra Mishra alleged that "there is large-scale bungling relating to EVMs in Uttar Pradesh. We demand deployment of central forces".
The opposition parties also raised concerns over the transportation of EVMs ahead of counting of votes and urged the EC to probe the issue.