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Recheck all EVMs: AGP

- Malfunction sparks concern

Guwahati, April 3: Spooked by reports of malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVMs), the AGP today demanded that all EVMs to be used in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls be rechecked to ensure free and fair elections in Assam.

The party also shot off a letter to Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath in this regard, asking him to confirm that the EVMs are tamper-proof and error-free. It also drew his attention to the incident in Jorhat on Tuesday when during a mock poll, it was found that when the button with the Congress symbol was pressed on one EVM, the vote went in favour of the BJP.

“This particular incident has raised doubts that the Congress and the BJP may resort to EVM tampering in the state,” AGP general secretary Durga Das Boro told reporters here today.

“We want the Election Commission to take immediate steps to recheck all the EVMs, otherwise we will not get a correct result,” he said.

The Assam Congress had also written to the Election Commission yesterday demanding a thorough inspection of all EVMs to be used in the state.

“When we raised the issue of EVM tampering after the 2011 Assembly polls, the Congress had ridiculed us and now they themselves are raising the same issue. It has vindicated our stand vis-à-vis EVMs,” Boro said.

The AGP general secretary said the Election Commission must also ensure that state government employees, who are not engaged in any election duty, don’t get to handle the EVMs.

Boro said in February, a seven-member delegation of the AGP had submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission in New Delhi seeking adequate measures to prevent EVM tampering in the state.

The chief electoral officer of Assam, Vijayendra, today said all the EVMs in Jorhat are being rechecked by engineers of the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), one of the two companies from Hyderabad that manufactures EVMs, in the presence of representatives from all parties.

“There are ECIL engineers at every centre in the state and, if required, similar rechecking of EVMs can also be carried out at other places,” he said.

The EVM that malfunctioned will not be used in the polls, Vijayendra said.


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