New Delhi: A delegation of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders today met the Chief Election Commissioner (EC) here and sought an inquiry over the alleged breach of security of EVMs at strongrooms in Punjab, where polling was held recently.
The delegation led by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia submitted a memorandum alleging that there are “multiple instances of breach in EVMs’ safety” in the state, where the party is hopeful of forming government.
“We have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner where we have pointed out there has been security breaches in strongrooms where the EVMs are kept.
“We have also mentioned that the May 2015 notification of the EC, which lists out instructions regarding the storage, physical verification and movements of EVMs is not being complied with,” Sisodia said.
Alleging that EVMs were moved out of a strongroom in Patiala he termed it “absolute violation of EC norms”.
“The Returning Officer, along with a few other officials entered the strongrooms on the pretext of procuring certain documents however it was found that they were moving steel boxes in which the EVMs were kept. We have demanded an enquiry into the matter,” Sisodia said.
AAP leader Raghav Chadha alleged that in some districts EVMs are kept in schools where their is regular movement of teachers.
“Also, as per the May 2015 notification, there has to be uninterrupted power supply to strongrooms and EVM warehouses so that the CCTV cameras are operational 24×7 and any movement can be captured.
“But there have been instances of no electricity for three hours in some places which is a violation of the rules and needs to be looked at,” Chadha said.
AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday had posted a video of EVMs being allegedly removed from ‘strong room’ where all machines have been kept after polls in Punjab.
He had tweeted, “This is absolutely shocking. Punjab officials trying to remove EVM machines.”
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.
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.