Days after the Congress demanded an explanation from the Election Commission on the mismatch in vote counts in over 370 Lok Sabha seats, new RTI reply has revealed that several components of EVMs were missing from safe rooms across Madhya Pradesh. A report prepared between April and June this year and provided to an RTI activist, Ajay Dubey, said that Ballot Unit and Detachable Memory Module were missing from safe rooms across Madhya Pradesh.
Ballot Unit is a part of the EVM, which has candidates’ names printed on it. A voter presses the button next to these candidates’ names to cast a vote. A DMM serves as an extra memory of the EVM and can be detached from the machine and stored separately.
A report published by The Telegraph newspaper said that while 2,709 DMMs were meant to be kept in a strong room at a government polytechnic college in Narsinghpur district, but during an inspection, 2,508 DMMs were not found.
According to the RTI reply, as reported by The Telegraph, nine Ballot Units were not found during the inspection of a strong room in Bhind district. The number of BUs going missing in Mandsaur was eight, while 11 and 28 BUs were not found in the store room in Sagar and Gwalior districts respectively.
The RTI reply did not specify whether these machines were used in the last month’s Lok Sabha polls. It’s also not clear if a similar trend would emerge from other states if RTI requests were to be filed seeking similar information.
The worrying development, nonetheless, comes just days after news website The Quint reported that it had found a mismatch in EVM vote counts in more than 370 seats that went to polls in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls.
Reacting to the story, Congress had tweeted, “Elections are the one chance the people have to hold govts accountable, people should have confidence in the system. There has been a consistent mismatch between the number of votes cast & the EVM vote count, the EC must explain these discrepancies.”
The BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a historic second term with even bigger majority in the last month’s parliamentary polls. But the outcome of the polls brought the role of EVMs under the huge scanner.
On Monday, Trinamool MPs stage a protest inside the parliament premises demanding that future elections be conducted using ballot papers.