Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, on Monday posted a video of EVMs being allegedly removed from ‘strong room’ where all machines have been kept after polls in Punjab.
Kejriwal tweeted, “This is absolutely shocking. Punjab officials trying to remove EVM machines.”
This is absolutely shocking. Punjab officials trying to remove EVM machines https://t.co/7qggvhTDd2
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 13, 2017
Kejriwal’s colleague and in-charge of AAP’s Punjab affairs, Durgesh Pathak, too posted the same video alleging that the Returning Officer had only allowed the individuals present in the video to collect some papers.
Pathak wrote, “RO allowed 4 people to enter the strong room where EVM machines are kept to take some papers, but they tried to move boxes with EVM machines.”
However, the district administration claimed that “nothing should be doubted” as the EVMs lying on the premises were the reserve machines for the already held 2015 municipal polls in the state.
Claiming that the EVMs of 2017 assembly polls were “safe and intact”, district official said that other machines were being removed to make space for the counting on March 11.
Safety of EVMs in Punjab has been a big worry for Kejriwal’s supporters. Many AAP supporters in Punjab had told Janta Ka Reporter’s, editor-in-chief, Rifat Jawaid during his recent visit to the state that they were worried about the SVMs’ safety post elections.
Elections in Punjab took place on 4 February, while the counting will take place on 11 March, when assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur have finally concluded.
It’s extraordinary just how easily the individual in the video can open the box where the EVMs are kept. He is then seen lifting the entire box to a dark room, next to the staircase in the corner.
During Delhi assembly polls, Kejriwal’s volunteers had physically guarded the building, where EVM machines were kept after the polls. But, this time the gap between the polling day and the day the votes will be counted in Punjab and Goa is more than a month. Several AAP functionaries say that this is humanly not possible to guard the building for such a prolonged period.
On 6 February, Kejriwal had demanded the suspension of an election commission returning officer after it was reported that he had entered the strong room, where EVMs are kept.