Indian Electronic Voting Machine (EVM): Transport & Trouble
On Tuesday, the largest election day since the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, voting took place in 475 of the total 824 assembly constituencies across the states of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, as well as the Union Territory of Puducherry.
On Tuesday, the largest election day since the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, voting took place in 475 of the total 824 assembly constituencies across the states of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, as well as the Union Territory of Puducherry. However, there were also other schemes trying to stir up these elections.
The Election Commission ordered fresh voting in one polling station of Assam's Ratabari seat on Friday, hours after a BJP candidate's vehicle was used to transport a polled EVM to the strong room. The EC also announced the suspension of four officials involved in the incident.
The authority stated in a factual report: "On April 1, the polling party of no. 149-Indira MV School of LAC 1 Ratabari (SC) was involved in an unfortunate incident. The party included a Presiding Officer and three poll workers. They were accompanied by two police officers: a constable and a home guard."
"The vehicle assigned by the transport cell of the election branch, DC office, broke down as the party approached Nilam Bazaar. The group disembarked from the vehicle and notified the sector officer. While the officer was looking for a vehicle, the party decided to look for one on their own" it was added.
According to the EC, the vehicle belonged to Madhumita Paul, the wife of contesting candidate Krishnendu Paul.
The incident had also sparked violence in the Karimganj district, prompting police to use live ammunition to bring the situation under control, according to the statement.
As per eyewitnesses, the vehicle was vandalised by opposition supporters as it approached the strong room, prompting the polling party to flee, leaving the EVMs behind.
On the other side, the BJP insisted on an independent investigation from the Election Commission on Tuesday after electronic voting machines (EVMs) and VVPAT machines were discovered in the home of a TMC leader in West Bengal's Howrah district.
Four EVMs and a similar number of VVPAT machines were discovered at the home of the Trinamool Congress leader in the Uluberia constituency, prompting the poll body to suspend an election official.
In a press conference, senior BJP leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar claimed that it is a serious matter that EVMs and VVPAT machines were discovered and confiscated in the TMC leader's house a day before the election.
"This is amplified by the fact that the computers were transported by a car on election duty. A thorough investigation should be conducted into this matter, and we are assured that the Election Commission will conduct a separate and impartial investigation "He said this.
The EVMs and VVPAT machines were seized by the poll panel after they were not used in the voting on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Chiran Bera, the BJP's candidate in the constituency, claimed that the mishap was part of the TMC's plan to rig the election, which the ruling party denied.
There was another incident where four people found on two-wheelers in Velachery carrying two electronic voting machines (EVMs) and one VVPAT machine shortly after the election on Tuesday stirred controversy, with the DMK and Congress accusing a serious breach of protocol. They also found Rs 1.12 lakh in cash on them.
As per Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, the motorists were corporation employees, and the EVMs they were carrying were not those used for voting. “A thorough investigation is underway. According to preliminary DEO findings, these two (machines) were not polled EVMs. We will take strict action if SOPs are violated,” Sahoo stated.
It all began when a food delivery agent spotted the machines being transported on two bikes and questioned the riders after one of the machines crashed on Taramani main road in Velachery. As word spread, a group of DMK and Congress officials rushed to the scene and began an argument.
C V Elango, a DMK functionary, stated that while they were verifying the men's identities, police arrived on the scene and took them away, stating that they needed to investigate the matter. “They were wearing ‘Polling Official' badges, but we suspect they are AIADMK employees,” he explained.
Hundreds of cadres from the DMK and the Congress gathered outside the Velachery police station, creating tense moments. The motorists, according to police, were revenue department employees, and senior officials were meeting with Congress candidate Hasan Maulaana and senior DMK functionaries.