The Telegraph
Thursday , April 3 , 2014
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Cong seeks EVM check after glitch

Guwahati/Jorhat, April 2: The Assam Congress today wrote to the Election Commission urging for a thorough inspection of all electronic voting machines to be used in the state to rule out any anomalies.

Assam PCC chief spokesperson Mehdi Alom Bora today said during a mock poll in the Upper Assam deputy commissioner’s in Jorhat district yesterday, it was found that when the button with the Congress symbol was pressed on one EVM, the vote went in favour of the BJP. Representatives of various parties were present during the mock poll.

“The Congress strongly urges the random method of mock poll be substituted by a thorough inspection of all EVM machines not only in Jorhat but in the whole of Assam,” said the letter sent to the commission today.

“The mock poll was done in a random manner. It so happened that a particular EVM tested during the mock poll gave a curious result. The machine was for the Teok Assembly constituency. When the button was pressed on the hand symbol of the Congress, the vote instead of going in favour of the Congress, went in favour of the BJP. This incident created a great sensation in Jorhat. If this pattern emerges in the future, it would make a mockery of the democratic process,” said the letter signed by Congress general secretary Ranjan Bora.

The Congress said the incident had created suspicion that some tricks were being played on the EVMs to favour the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. “We demand a full probe into the matter so the polls are held in a fair manner,” the letter said.

Mehdi Alom Bora said they had alerted the party’s central committee that such incidents can happen anywhere in the country. “We do not want votes meant for one party go to another because of a technical glitch. For the sake of fair polls, we want all EVMs be checked in the presence of the representatives of all parties,” he said.

He, however, said they were not in favour of introducing ballot paper saying the EVMs made the election process quicker.

He alleged the companies, which make the EVMs, had some sort of understanding with the BJP. “Narendra Modi favours corporate houses. Similarly, the corporate houses also want Modi to become Prime Minister. We suspect there is some understanding between the BJP and these corporate houses,” he said.

Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency returning officer and deputy commissioner Solanki V. Vasant today said following the demand of an inquiry report by the Assam chief electoral officer on the complaint lodged by the PCC, an inquiry report has been sent to the official.

Vasant said a ballot unit of an EVM had malfunctioned during checking of the machines yesterday, in which a vote cast for a particular party, was registered to another party. He said the EVM has been replaced and ECIL engineers from Hyderabad had arrived in Jorhat to look into the defects arising in the EVMs.

Vasant also denied the allegations made by the BJP today in Jorhat that the district administration was taking a partisan role in conducting the poll process. He said they were following all rules and regulations laid down by the Election Commission to conduct the elections.

Earlier, BJP MLA from Kamalpur, Jadab Deka, and Shantanu Pujari, a member in-charge of the party campaign in Jorhat, told reporters that the district administration was “delaying” permission to the BJP for organising rallies and processions and had even created problems to make the Modi rally at Sivasagar on Monday a “flop show”.