The chief election commissioner (CEC) will send a team from Delhi to assess the security arrangements at strongrooms where electronic voting machines (EVMs) are kept in Punjab. The decision comes after a delegation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders met the CEC in Delhi on Tuesday and sought an inquiry into the alleged “breach of security” of EVMs at strongrooms in the state.
The delegation led by Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia submitted a memorandum to the CEC alleging that there were “multiple instances of breach in EVMs’ safety in the state, where the party is hopeful of forming the 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.
The AAP had on Monday raised an alarm over an alleged shifting of EVMs from a strongroom in Patiala. The AAP made a video of the alleged shifting of EVMs which was spread by the party’s top leaders through Twitter and Facebook. It was later found that EVMs were of 2015 municipal corporation elections which were being removed from an adjacent hall in building to create extra space for counting of votes on March 11.
AAP state convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich also urged Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) to completely restrict any activity within the compounds of the buildings where the EVMs are stored. Waraich said after the Patiala incident, where district returning officer allowed shifting of old EVMs lying in same complex where assembly poll EVMs are stored, the possibility of sabotage cannot be ruled out. They said that even though the Election Commission has clarified that EVMs removed by district officials were those used in the MC elections, it was an “unusual and suspected” action.
Earlier, AAP’s Dakha candidate HS Phoolka had also raised an alarm about breach of security at the Ludhiana strongroom. However, a probe that followed found everything in order.
(With agency inputs)