According to the Election Commission guidelines for storage and transportation of EVMs for polled and unpolled says “all polled and reserve EVMs, after the voting, shall be under the cover of armed police at all times. Reserve EVMs should also be returned at the same time when the polled EVMs are returned at the receipt center.”
The guidelines also say that “it must be ensured that all reserve EVMs are also deposited in the strong room meant for reserve EVMs at the same time when the polled EVMs are deposited in the strong room meant for polled EVMs.”
In several incidences allegations of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) being tampered with or being transported in private cars in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana surfaced this morning along with video clips that the opposition said reinforce concerns about voting machines just ahead of the counting of votes in the national election on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the principal opposition party in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal, had claimed that multiple EVMs were seized by its workers from a truck, near the Maharajganj Lok Sabha area in Bihar.
The party even shared some pictures on its official Twitter handle, of a mini truck purportedly transporting dozens of EVMs and VVPAT machines.
The party also retweeted another video which makes claims about similar discrepancies in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi. The video was originally tweeted by the handle of Welfare Party of India Maharashtra
In a separate incident, Afzal Ansari, the SP-BSP joint candidate from Uttar Pradesh’s Gazipur, sat on protest outside a strongroom where the electronic voting machines are kept. He claims the EVMs were being transported out of the strongroom in a vehicle.
In a video, Ansari and his supporters were seen engaging in a heated argument with a police officer. In the video, Ansari is seen mentioning the Chandauli incident and alleging similar practices in Gazipur.
The local administration claimed these were extra EVMs sent to them before the sixth round of voting and that they were being taken to districts voting in the seventh phase.
In another incident in BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh Opposition claims that the EVM-laden mini-truck was moving around the strong rooms near the Saran and Maharajganj Lok Sabha areas, seemingly in a bid to enter the rooms, set up for the safekeeping of the EVMs by the Election Commission.
The party alleged that the BJP was attempting to manipulate the EVMs, in a bid to change the outcome of the elections. It has also asked its party workers to remain vigilant, to curb other such attempts.
In Domariyaganj, a district official reportedly called an election team on his phone through the loudspeaker and tried to get them to acknowledge that the transfer of EVMs was happening per their orders but the local election body official on the other side apparently said he wasn’t aware.
A senior official in Uttar Pradesh’s Domariyaganj reportedly tried to get an election body official to acknowledge that the transfer of EVMs was happening per their orders.
Similar allegations have come up from Jhansi, Mau, Mirzapur, parts of Haryana, Punjab and Bihar.
“All these EVMs that were being transported. There were no unknown persons involved. In Jhansi, a city magistrate was there. In all other instances a Sub Divisional Magistrate and tehsildar were in the know and were taking these EVMs . No unauthorised vehicle or person was involved,” Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer Lakku Venkateshwarlu said.