After AAP raises question on EVMs safety in Punjab, EC sends 2-member team to assess strongroom security

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Chandigarh: A day after AAP raised questions over the EVMs safety in Punjab, a two-member team of the Election Commission will arrive in the state today to assess the arrangements at the strongrooms housing such machines.

EVMs safety
A delegation led by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia after meeting with Election Commissioner submitted a memorandum alleging breach of security of EVMs in Punjab, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

The team comprising Himachal Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan and Additional Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Kumar from Delhi will take stock of the security arrangements at strongrooms in Patiala (Nabha), Ludhiana (Gill), Jalandhar (Phillaur), Nakodar, Shahkot, Jalandhar (Cantt) and Tarn Taran during their two-day tour, an official in the state election office said here.

“The two-member team of Election Commission of India (ECI) will make an assessment of security arrangements at strongrooms where EVMs (electronic voting machines) have been kept and they will submit their report directly to the poll body,” he said.

Besides, the team will also hold meetings with representatives of political parties regarding their apprehensions relating to EVMs, if any.

The delegation led by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had yesterday submitted a memorandum to the poll panel in Delhi alleging that there were “multiple instances of breach in EVMs’ safety” in Punjab, where Assembly elections were held recently.

The Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the Nabha Returning Officer (RO) allowed some people to remove EVMs kept in a college building in Patiala.

However, Patiala District Election Officer Ramvir Singh, clarified that the EVMs lying on the premises were the reserve machines for the already held 2015 municipal polls in the state and that the machines were being removed to make space for the counting on March 11.

Following the episode, the Punjab Chief Electoral Officer has asked District Election Officers to execute planning relating to setting up of counting centres after March 1. A daily report with regard to compliance of the ECI guidelines on EVMs stored in strongrooms have also been sought, official said.

Besides Patiala, AAP had also accused the Returning Officer of Gill assembly segment in Ludhiana of tampering with EVMs kept in the strongroom at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

AAP, which is eying to wrest power in the northern state, had also filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, raising questions on the security of EVMs at strongrooms in Jalandhar, Phillaur, Shahkot, Jalandhar West and Tarn Taran.

(With PTI inputs)

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