Controversy has broken out in Madhya Pradesh, where the Assembly elections took place on November 28, this year. The controversy is regarding the delay in Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs reaching the collection centre in Sagar on Friday, a full 48 hours after voting ended in the state elections on Wednesday.
According to reports, the EVMs were kept at a police station in Khurai city in the district, where Madhya Pradesh home minister Bhupendra Singh is the BJP legislator. Bhupendra Singh is contesting against Congress’s Arunoday Chaubey.
Apparently, the Congress has now alleged that before being brought to the collection centre to be stored till counting day, the EVMs were taken to a hotel owned by Bhupendra Singh.
On Friday, hundreds of agitated Congress workers protested outside the collection centre demanding an inquiry and action against officials involved. They also alleged that it is the ruling BJP’s attempt to manipulate results.
Madhya Pradesh Congress tweeted, “In Madhya Pradesh home minister’s area, EVMs were deposited using a bus without a registration plate, 48 hours after polling. Is this a conspiracy by the government to ensure a BJP win?”
The Chief Electoral Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh, however, said these EVMs were not used for voting, and were among the ones kept on standby to be used in case of a technical snag. Sources say there were 34 such EVMs.
The Chief Electoral Officer tweeted, “These are EVMs kept as ‘Reserve’ stationed at some Police stations, to be used as replacement for malfunctioning machines during Poll. Such machines were to be stored separately from polled EVMs. Strong room having Polled EVMs was neither opened nor was supposed to be opened.”
“Every EVM has a unique number code for it. The numbers of EVM used in polling have been shared with all political parties. The numbers of reserved EVM’s have been checked by political parties in sagar districts. Their numbers are different,” the Chief Electoral Officer also added.
Notably, EVMs are sealed and transported immediately to collection centres after polling ends.
On the other hand, BJP has refuted the allegations and said that transporting the EVMs is the duty of the Election Commission and they have nothing to say on the controversy.
Meanwhile, the Congress in Madhya Pradesh is hoping to unseat the BJP, which has been ruling the state for the past 15 years. On the day of the election, the state recorded a voter turnout of over 74 per cent, higher than what it did in last elections in 2013. Results on the same will be declared on December 11.