Akhilesh Yadav Alleges Tampering With EVMs; UP Electoral Officer Clarifies

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Following Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav’s allegations of electronic voting machines (EVM) being manipulated, Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma held a meeting with representatives of several political parties on Tuesday.

Speaking to media persons, Sharma said, “About 20 EVMs were being taken to UP College for training. Some political people stopped the vehicle and spread rumours by saying that these EVMs were used in elections. Whereas the strong room is different and this EVM machine caught is different. Tomorrow is the second training of the employees deputed for counting duty and these machines are always used in training for hands-on training.”
He said the above-mentioned 20 EVMs were not used in polling and were being sent for training purposes.

“There is a strong room here. Polled EVMs are kept there, barricading done, there is no reason to breach the barricading. There are other strong rooms and godowns for other EVMs (meant for training). Both sets of EVMs are not connected to each other. It is being clarified. All candidates have been called. The list of EVMs that were used on polling day was mailed to them. Hard copy being given today. These 20 EVMs (for training), are separately kept in vehicles. Numbers are being matched and shown to candidates that these are not polled EVMs,” stated Sharma.

The District Magistrate said that an inquiry has been set up under a senior magistrate if there is any kind of violation of the election guidelines.

“The EVMs which were used in the elections are all sealed in the strong room in the possession of CRPF and there is CCTV surveillance which is being watched by people of all political parties. An inquiry has been set up under a senior magistrate if there is any kind of violation of the election guidelines. We have had discussions with all the candidates. But the talks have not been very successful because of too many people. After this, we have called the observer to resolve the confusion,” said the official.

Meanwhile, SP workers staged a protest outside an EVM strong room in Varanasi’s Pahariya Mandi area on Tuesday. SP state spokesperson Manoj Rai Dhoopchandi said that a fair investigation cannot be expected with the present DM. “That is why we have demanded that this DM should be removed from here immediately,” said Dhoopchandi.

Heavy deployment of police personnel has been made in the area.

Ahead of the counting of votes for Uttar Pradesh assembly polls on Thursday, Akhilesh Yadav alleged “tampering with electronic voting machines” saying BJP was scared as his party was winning Ayodhya. He urged the Election Commission to look into the issue.

“Samajwadi Party is winning Ayodhya that is why BJP is scared. Election Commission officials tampering with EVMs,” he claimed at a press conference here.

He also alleged that EVMs had been transported in Varanasi without information to local candidates.

“Exit polls want to create a perception that BJP is winning. This is the last fight for democracy. EVM is being transported without being informed to candidates. We need to be alert if EVMs are being transported this way. This is theft. We need to save our votes. We may go to court against it but before that, I want to appeal to people to save the democracy,” he said.

The SP chief also made similar allegations in a tweet.

“The reports of EVM being caught (transported) in Varanasi is a message to be alert in every constituency. To deal with any attempt of cheating during the counting of votes, the candidates of the Samajwadi Party and its allies should stay ready with their cameras. The youth should become soldiers during counting for the sake of democracy and their future,” he said.

Hours after Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged that electronic voting machine (EVM) is being tampered and Varanasi district magistrate is transporting it without informing local candidates, UP State Election Commission has denied the allegation and said the EVMs shown in a video were for “training purpose”.

Replying to this allegations, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), in a press release, said, “Some political parties have brought to our attention that a few EVMs were being transported in a vehicle in Varanasi district. On investigation, it was found that these EVMs were for training purpose. These EVMs were being taken to training locations at a college in the state on March 9, 2022 and were kept at a foodgrains warehouse. ”

The CEO further said, “During the transportation of these EVMs, some members of a political party stopped the vehicle and started spreading rumours that vehicle contains EVMs meant for counting of votes.”

The voting for the seventh and last phase of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh was held on Monday.

The exit polls have predicted BJP getting a comfortable majority in the state. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.

 

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